P.J.R.: Williams takes over as Minnesota's top draft bust
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Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman had returned to a former strategy of playing his second unit en masse to start the second quarter on Wednesday night at Target Center. The reserves started as their shaky selves, then the L.A. Clippers backups got sloppy and it became an even match for a few minutes.
Derrick Williams, coming off a full night on the bench in Washington on Tuesday, could not make a shot. He did get to the line for a couple of free throws and came away with a couple of rebounds early in this shift.
Finally, Williams was in position to get to the basket from the left side. He went up with the ball and had the option to go for a dunk, or use his large body to shield off a defender for a left-handed layup.
No chance. He went soft, looking for the foul rather than a forceful finish. He got the call and accepted a couple of hand slaps as he walked toward the line.
I would have preferred a different reaction from a teammate. I would have preferred that someone such as the feisty J.J. Barea step in front of Williams, look up at him angrily and go into a profane tirade about Williams failing to finish for roughly the 300th time early in the third season of his pathetic NBA career.
I took care of the profanity part of that in the Wolves' makeshift press area, which sits in the corner where Williams once again balked at going hard to the basket.
You may recall last Sunday, Vikings fans, when Christian Ponder followed up his awful interception over the middle by throwing a six-point interception to a guy named Walter Thurman and you screamed at the television:
"I just can't take it anymore. I can never again be forced to watch a minute of this putz playing quarterback. He has driven me bat-poop crazy.''
That was me on Wednesday night, when Williams, a put-together 6-foot-8, who can leap and with apparent strength, made another of his trademark "Gosh, I hope they foul me'' moves to hoop.
I could not take it anymore. I never again wanted to be forced to watch a minute of Williams playing his ridiculous brand of basketball for the home team.
It was official (as the indicated by a torrent of F-bombs I was issuing): Derrick Williams had driven me bat-poop crazy.
So much so, that I'm now ready to declare Williams to be Minnesota's greatest draft flop in the four major professional sports.
The guy was No. 2 overall in 2011, behind Kyrie Irving to Cleveland. And he wasn't a reach by our guy KAHN! Derrick was the consensus second choice in a landslide. Somehow, he has taken impressive raw skills and turned them into nothing.
Steve Aschburner was in town covering the Wolves-Clippers game for NBA.com. He had this astute postgame observation:
"To me, it looks like Williams is playing alone,'' Aschburner said. "All this stuff is going on, and he's out there by himself, sort of oblivious to it.''
As for a rating of Williams as Minnesota's great draft bust, that's based on his lofty position in the draft. I'll give you my other contenders, with the understanding that the baseball draft for years was such a roll of the dice that only players in the top few could be judged as flops worth considering on this list.
WORST-EVER DRAFT CHOICES, based on how high player was taken and primarily on his performance while in Minnesota:
*WILD-1, Benoit Pouliot (4), 2005. 2, A.J. Thelen (12), 2004. 3, James Sheppard (9), 2006.
*TWINS-1, Adam Johnson (2), 2000. 2-David McCarty (3), 1991. 3-Willie Banks (3), 1987.
*VIKINGS-1, Troy Williamson (7), 2005. 2, Derrick Alexander (11), 1995. 3, Christian Ponder (12), 2011.
Note: Williamson was No. 1 on my list of busts before Derrick Williams came along.
Special remembrance: The North Stars' decision to take Brian Lawton with the No. 1 overall selection in the 1983 NHL Draft. Lawton played in 483 games for his NHL career with 112 goals and 266 points. Not too bad, you say?
The next four players in that draft in order: Sylvain Turgeon (669 games, 269 goals, 495 points); Pat LaFontaine (865 games, 468 goals, 1,013 points), Steve Yzerman (1,514 games, 692 goals and 1,755 points) and Tom Barrasso (18 years in goal, 369-277-86 in the regular season, 61 more wins in playoffs).
--PATRICK JAMES REUSSE.