Former No.2 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft in Derrick Williams has not even been a member of the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, yet he may possibly be a long-term solution.
Williams, who was signed on a 10-day contract by the Cavaliers before their 118-109 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on February 9th, scored 12 points in 22 minutes while going a perfect three-of-three from the field.
The 6’8 235-pound swingman from Arizona followed up a solid debut with another strong effort in scoring seven points in 21 minutes of action during the Cavs 125-109 win over the visiting Denver Nuggets.
In two games with the Wine and Gold, Williams has averaged near double figures with 9.9 a game, which combined with his open-court athleticism, imposing physicality and ability to attack the rim could prove to be a boon and a sneaky good pick-up for the champions are are in desperate need of big athletic bodies who can defend, score and counter the likes of Golden State and their length and up-tempo style of play.
Minnesota. Sacramento. New York. Miami. Cleveland. Barely into his athletic prime and now on his fifth NBA team in six seasons, while many may question why a high top-five draft pick has failed to stick for any length of time, one needs to look at the teams and organizations he was in to get the answer to that question.
Clearly, none of them have the winning championship-type kind of organization, or the type of locker room leadership to help bring out the most in him and his own talent.
In what was a ringing endorsement from the Cavs de facto general manager in LeBron James to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, James stated,
“We hope that this is a long-term thing, Obviously, we know that he’s on a 10-day contract, but we believe it’s going to be long-term”
James would go on to praise Williams and what he brings in terms of size and ability,
“ We’re lucky to have him, It’s not many places you’re going to find a 6-(foot)-8 wing with athleticism like that at 25. So, we’re lucky to have him.”
After pleading publicly for the Cavs front office to land a playmaker guard, Williams—while not a true point guard, per se—may very well be exactly what the Cavs need in terms of providing much-needed scoring punch to a second unit when James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sit.
Envision a second unit composed of Williams, Kyle Korver, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert and Kay Felder. Imagine a unit composed of LBJ, Irving, Love, Williams and Thompson.
And all of this without J.R. Smith.
So imagine Williams in a possible lineup with Smith and Irving running the point with James at the four and Love at the five?
Whether or not Cleveland decides to add a guard in addition to Williams as first reported during their recent workouts that had the likes of Jordan Farmar, Kirk Heinrich, Lance Stephenson and linked to notable veterans such as Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams, the addition of Derrick Williams has the potential and real chance of actually sticking around.