When my computer freezes, I yank out the power cord from the electrical socket. TV goes on the fritz? I whack it a few times. Freezer breaks? Eff it – I just turn it into a closet exclusively used for pants! I’m not good with technology. I’m about as capable with technologically as Amy Winehouse is with pills. And before you turn on me for making an insensitive joke about a musician whose career consisted of only three songs that anyone’s ever heard of, you should know that I’ve been under the impression that Amy Winehouse died two years ago. You wouldn’t shake your head at me in the summer of 2013 for making light of Winehouse’s death, don’t do it to me now. Anyway, I’m a Luddite. That was the original point of all this: technology is both amazing and inexplicable. Take the iPhone: the thing can detect movement. The songs shuffle when you shake it, or the display changes from vertical to horizontal depending on how you hold it – it’s amazing. If these things can detect motion, why not weather or environmental conditions? I’d like that in my gadgets. You’re on the beach, it’s warm, the hot glare of the sun beats down on my phone – boom – Jan & Dean. The Beach Boys. I’m in my car, it’s warm, the windows are rolled down, there’s wind – poof – a CCR, Springsteen, Thorogood playlist breaks out. Performances adaptive to the physical environment: it’s the way of the future, Howard Hughes. At least that’s what the Timberwolves were hoping when they chose Arizona’s Derrick Williams with the second overall pick in this year’s draft. The team will not belong to him outright, but it will need him to adapt to a variety of environments in order to be effective … and to sputter out CCR whenever Kevin Love asks for it. And he will ask for it. Let’s take a look at why I think DerrWilliger is a sneaky fantasy basketball pick.
Williams has been widely compared to David West as the type of player he’ll eventually most resemble. Physically, this isn’t far off. West is an inch taller, but five pounds lighter. Williams is quicker than West, but is probably going to have a rough year guarding the three if he gets stuck there. West, in his first two seasons with Xavier, did everything better than Williams except score. But it’s precisely Williams’ scoring that makes him so intriguing. He averaged 1.9 3ptm last year on .568 shooting from beyond the college arc. He won’t average anything near that as a rookie, but it shows that the dude can spread the floor. Put him next to Love, who sank 88 threes last season, and you’ve got a tricky frontcourt. Ultimately, I think Williams will face the same glut as Kyrie Irving will face in Cleveland: there’s other capable bodies playing their same position. Unless Minnesota can shuffle off Anthony Randolph, Michael Beasley or Love (perish the thought!) to another team, I don’t see Williams getting into the starting lineup. I do however see him playing both SF and PF and amassing 24-28 mpg by the end of the year. The Wolves need a second big besides Love who can spread the floor and get to the line. If he’s playing SF, he’ll be bigger than enough of his defenders to score in isolation. He’s a lot like Beasley in both size and skill set, which is a problem in that Beasley is his main competition for playing time (Love ain’t going nowhere and it’s unlikely that they’ll movie him to center to get Williams more minutes at the four). A third of Williams’ 8.3 rbds last year came on the offensive end (huzzah!), which means he only averaged about 5.5 defensive boards (boo!). This might be the biggest factor playing against the kid. He’s not going to grab three offensive boards a night playing 26 minutes a game and sharing the floor with Love. And outside of Love and Darko Milicic, the Wolves’ next best defensive rebounders all play the same position as Williams (Beasley, Anthony Tolliver, Martell Webster, Wes Johnson and that’s not counting what Anthony Randolph will contribute). Ultimately, I think everyone with a mild pulse on this roster last season will completely fall away in 2011. Webster, Milicic and Johnson especially. Que Seras, Sarah. Whatever will be, Sarah. Don’t expect “David West,” from Derrick Williams, but do expect 25 mpg, 14/6/1 with solid percentages. It isn’t as farfetched as me trying to turn off the alarm on my iPhone without swearing at least twice.