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Discussion: Derrick Williams' NBA future

Derrick Williams officially declared for the NBA Draft on Wednesday, and though he'll likely be a top 5 pick, fellow Swarm writer Mike Schmitz and I discuss some limitations in Williams' game and how we project his NBA career to turn out.


While he was a very productive and efficient college player, here's what we think on whether the decision was a good one money-wise, where we think he'll go in the draft and what he'll need to work on to become a proficient pro.

Kevin Zimmerman: With some big-name guys like Baylor Bears forward Perry Jones staying it school, that made it more clear that Arizona forward Derrick Williams had a likely chance to go not just in the top 5, but maybe even as the No. 1 overall pick. So from a money advantage, his move makes a ton of sense. But do you think he'll make an immediate impact?


Mike Schmitz: To be honest, I don't. Guys who come in and make an impact right away are also able to do the little things, which Williams is somewhat inept at. He's not a good defender, nor is he an above average rebounder for a big man. With that said, I don't know if his athleticism and scoring ability alone will keep him on the floor. But on the other hand, it depends on the situation he's in. If he gets a starting gig with the Washington Wizards or Cleveland Cavaliers, it's hard to say he won't be productive. But I don't see him producing at the level of most top-5 picks right away.


Kevin Zimmerman: How about his scoring though? I've been critical of his lack of a jump hook and don't think he'll get half of the foul calls he got in college. In college he had a great face-up game; do you think he can score in the paint at the next level?


Mike Schmitz: If he's playing the four, no. He does have the explosion and finishing ability to become a great pick and roll big man, but I don't see him getting to the line nearly as often. He has a nice first step and good lateral quickness but he plays so below the rim that its going to be hard for him to finish over 6-foot-10 power forwards. As you said, his offensive arsenal is limited. No jump hook, no go-to move. That could come, but as far as making an immediate impact in that regard, I don't see it happening.


Kevin Zimmerman: Of course, the lottery order has a lot to do with this playing out, but what teams do you see him fitting well with as he develops? The Minnesota Timberwolves look somewhat set with Michael Beasley and Kevin Love. Cleveland has J.J. Hickson at power forward, so that situation sort of depends on how Williams develops into a 3-man.


Mike Schmitz: I think the best fit for him would probably be with the Washington Wizards. He'd develop a nice rapport with John Wall and would make up a solid, young frontcourt next to JaVale McGee. With such a young team he would get some time early to develop, rather than riding the pine. He's going to get time with any team that's in the top five of the lottery, but Washington seems to be the best fit. So if you're the team with the No. 1 pick, do you draft D-Will?

Kevin Zimmerman: To me, nobody really stands out much in the draft. Kyrie Irving seems a bit limited as far as his point guard skills go, and Harrison Barnes reminds me a little too much of Marvin Williams (i.e. average small forward in the NBA, though he does have more of a killer instinct). I think Williams' upside is greater than both of those guys, however. In such a weak draft, I would really consider Williams because of that fact. As far as character goes, you can't go wrong with him either. Even if he takes a few years to develop, I think he'll turn out to be an effective player in the NBA, and not a huge risk even if he doesn't turn into a star. What do you think is his floor and his ceiling (maybe with player comparisons)?


Mike Schmitz: I actually like both Irving and Barnes more than Williams. If healthy, Irving would have easily been the best freshman in the country and what he did against Arizona after missing basically the entire season sold me. I also like Barnes quite a bit and think he will be a better pro than Marvin Williams, although I don't hate the comparison. He does have the ability to create his own shot though, which Marvin Williams never had. You can't discredit D-Will's character as I think that's the true difference between him becoming an above-average pro. He'll stay grounded and work as hard as anyone, which is often the difference between good and great. Even with that said, I don't ever think he'll be much more than a two or three-time all-star. He reminds me a lot of Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap, minus the rebounding. Millsap may be a bit more agile, but they're both undersized and have good quickness for their position. Both can stretch it out to three-point range on occasion, while doing some damage in the paint. I see the two having very similar careers in the NBA. 


What do you think?