So Derrick Williams goes to work out with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Instead of a traditional head-to-head with another top big man, if there really are many comparable bigs in the 2011 NBA Draft, the T'Wolves did something a little strange. They put Williams in a workout with guards.
And, uh, D-Will apparently answers some questions about his ability to transition to the small forward position at the next level. I had a lot of those questions. On one hand, Williams played so well at the center position in college offensively that we overlooked that he struggled on defense against guys like Nikola Vucevic, a legitimate NBA-sized center. We also forgot to factor in that we hadn't actually seen him play D against any wing player at the college level.
Apparently Williams killed it.Here's what assistant GM Tony Ronzone told the Star Tribune:
"What impressed me today is his handle. I mean, he has a big-time 1-on-1 handle. He shakes guys off. He goes left to right real well. He really operates on the left side of the floor rather than the right right now."
That's good news for Williams, who showed (not surprisingly) that a Miles or Mason Plumlee can't guard him on the perimeter. Playing against faster players eases any concerns that Williams really can play the 3-spot. Furthermore, he apparently he guard them, too.
Whether the T'Wolves want to ship off Mike Beasley or not, the versatility displayed by Williams offers them options, ones that could put both Williams and Beasley on the floor at the same time, no matter who plays the 3 or 4. I mean, with Ricky Rubio on his way, just think of the passer's options come next season should Minnesota keep its pick (they're rumored to have been shopping it to the Washington Wizards and the like).
Oh, and think Williams won't keep up the 50-plus percent 3-point shooting in the NBA? OK, that's probably not going to happen. But as we saw on Sports Science, D-Will isn't just a great in-game shooter. Ronzone told the Twin Cities' paper that Williams has an odd shot, but it works.
And if anything, they were impressed that Williams showed up willing to work out with other players, something Top 5 picks commonly do to avoid sliding after getting balled up by lesser-regarded players. Here's what Ronzone told, according to the Pioneer Press:
"The thing I like about both guys is that they came in and competed against other players," said Tony Ronzone, Wolves assistant general manager/player personnel director. "A lot of guys in the past would come in for workouts and just wanted to do stuff by themselves. They didn't want to go up against anybody."