As has been the case so many times recently, the Minnesota Timberwolves finished at the bottom of the standings in the NBA a year ago. Yet, there is reason for some optimism in Minny. They have a new head coach who brings an impressive resume in Rick Adelman, they are finally getting Ricky Rubio to come to the United States, Kevin Love looks like one of the most promising young players in the NBA, and the Timberwolves used the second overall pick on Derrick Williams.
Williams stole the show during the NCAA Tournament with highlight reel dunks, incredible blocked shots, and an ability to carry a team on his shoulders. That’s the kind of player that the Wolves have been missing for a number of years. The only real problem is that Minnesota has so many players with the same skill-set and the position that Williams will eventually occupy is a log-jam right now with Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson, and Anthony Randolph already on the roster.
Derrick Williams joined KFAN in Minnesota with Paul Allen to talk about whether or not he thinks he has a chance to win NBA Rookie of the Year, on the opening night game against Oklahoma City, whether or not he can play defense, whether or not he wants to start as a rookie, and if he thinks having so many types of the same players is a benefit.
Whether or not he thinks he has a chance to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year:
“Yeah I think so. Between myself and Ricky (Rubio) I think we have a really good chance of winning that award. I think Ricky is a great player and I think we’re both battling for it a little bit. At the same time I think it really does have to win more games this year. I think we really do have a chance to win more games with the additions of Rubio, hearing JJ Barea is coming in, so I think we will have a pretty good season this year.”
On the opening night game against the Thunder:
“Hopefully that would happen. It’s gonna be a great team that we’re gonna be playing the first game and I really think they’re gonna challenge us a lot. It will be our first game here actually. I really feel like our fans are ready to come out and support. We play a great team so I really think they’re all going to be here.”
Whether or not he can play defense:
“Yeah I can play defense. That was what we had our first meeting on. It was really going over all the mistakes last season and like you said they were last in turnovers and things like that. I think getting it all out there and out front and what we have to do to fix it this year was what coach was trying to instill into us the first meeting that we had.”
Whether or not he wants to start his first ever game in the NBA:
“That’s what I’m pushing towards. I want to. That’s the main goal of any rookie is to go out there and start the first game of their career. I feel like I have a good chance of doing that. At the same time on the court your enemies are your teammates right now. It’s training camp and you want to go at your teammate and make them better. I feel like we are all doing that right now. Off the court it’s a different story. We are all really, really close. Hopefully I can start the first game.”
If he thinks having the some players with the same size and skill-set is a benefit:
“Yeah exactly. I feel like not too many teams have really, really similar players on the same side of the court that do the same things. I feel like this team has that. It’s gonna be pretty hard to stop a lot of people that are 6-8, 6-9 that can put the ball on the floor and shoot the ball. When you think about a four-man in the league you think about a post-up guy and things like that, but when you have more versatile guys on the floor at the same time it’s gonna be really hard to guard. I feel we can really take advantage of that this year.”
Listen to Derrick Williams on KFAN here (Audio begins 16:30 into the podcast)