-I’m really glad to see Arizona’s Derrick Williams finally making people’s radars beep louder (I knew I could count on you, Krolik…). I’ve had the chance to see a handful of Arizona games and have really liked Williams. He’s an incredibly efficient scorer with the strength to battle in the paint and the ability (or luck) to step outside and hit the 3 (he made 60% of his attempts).
I’ve been saying for a while that I wouldn’t be surprised to see Williams become a bigger version of Andre Igoudala (only better at scoring and not as good a passer … does that still count as a comparison or am I now describing a different player?), though a lot of this depends on which team he goes to and where they choose to play him (Kristofer Habbas has a great article arguing whether Williams could be a consideration for the first pick in the draft on nbadraftinsider.com and he also says it depends on which position teams decide to play Williams that determine his ultimate value). I like him as a 3 (if he can improve his ball handling and outside shooting … again, am I now describing a different player?) who can use his strength and size to make up for what he might lack in quickness and elite athleticism both offensively and defensively at that position (Habbas argues that Williams needs to float between the 3 and the 4 to maximize his value).
But he also operates so smoothly within the game plan that he’s relatively quiet with his 19.5PPG and 8.3RPG while shooting 60% from the field, 75% from the line and – ahem – 55% from 3. Those “quiet” players are always interesting to me, since watching (in my opinion) the best “quiet” player I’d ever seen play college ball in person, Michael Redd. Redd would have games where you’d look up at the scoreboard after and think, “Wait, when did he get those 25 points? I thought he scored, like, 12.” And we all know how much less quiet Michael Redd got when he got to the pros. That does not mean that Williams is going to experience the same success as Redd (or the same debilitating knee injuries, for that matter), but sometimes your memorable scorer is not scoring in the best way (…Hello, Kobe Bryant).
Of course quiet players can also disappear … as in entirely … as in not have a productive career. So, sure … if you wanna think of it that way…
Depending on how workouts go, Williams is probably the No. 2 pick in this draft and nothing to sneeze at if the ping-pong balls don’t fully go the Cavs way in the lottery. A front line of Varejao, Hickson and Williams, while still imperfect, is fun to think about.
-Oh, and speaking of memorable scorers, if the Cavs do miss out on the first pick (and, presumably, Kyrie Irving with it), they might be staring at Kemba Walker with the Clippers pick. Have we seen a better quick, scoring 6-foot guard in college since Allen Iverson? I don’t think so. And, while I’m not ready to give Walker the type of NBA career that Iverson enjoyed, I think there’s “important piece” written all over him. When trying to describe Walker, this is the best I could come up with: Terrell Brandon mixed with Ben Gordon mixed with another guy who is not quite as good. Remember, Brandon was once called “The Best Point Guard in the NBA” by Sports Illustrated and he was a very good scoring guard. Gordon is bigger than Walker, but they both have that volume scorer’s mentality (and, actually, in hindsight, I think I’ll remove the “another guy who is not quite as good” from my comparison. I think that guy is also Ben Gordon). I think Brandon Knight of Kentucky (who is drawing a ton of comparisons to Jason Terry) has the chance to be a very good player, but (yes, even more than Jimmer…).