Rick Adelman not concerned about Derrick Williams' playing time
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Since landing in Minnesota as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft, Derrick Williams has been one of the Minnesota Timberwolves' most polarizing players among fans and media alike.
The season is only one game old and concerns about playing time are largely premature. But Williams is a hot topic of conversation again after the third-year forward did not play in the Wolves' overtime defeat of Orlando on Wednesday.
Coach Rick Adelman, however, isn't the one doing the talking.
"I don't worry about him as much as you guys do,'" Adelman said after practice Thursday. "No, really. He's going to get a chance to play when it looks like a good opportunity for him."
Match-up issues played largely into the decision to keep Williams on the bench in the season opener, with Orlando sticking with a three-guard lineup for much of the night. Adelman kept his rotation to nine players, starting Corey Brewer at small forward and bringing on Dante Cunningham when needed.
To Williams' credit, he has said the right things in front of reporters, staying far from vocalizing any clear unrest about the situation, but he has also kept his comments short.
Williams said he wasn't given any indication pregame whether or not he would play
"It's Coach's decision. That's it. That's all I can say," Williams said.
When asked how long he envisions himself staying patient with his situation, Williams responded calmly: "I've been patient for two years now. I don't know. We'll see."
Williams, 22, primarily played at power forward in his first two years with Minnesota. Kevin Love's injury-riddled 2012-13 season opened an opportunity for Williams to start 56 games. Although he has battled obvious inconsistencies, he had a strong stretch run last season, averaging 14 points and 6.3 rebounds in his final 46 games.
On Sunday, the Wolves officially announced that Williams' option for next season was being picked up, ensuring him $6.3 million in 2014-15.
With Love back to his fully healthy All-Star form, the minutes available at power forward have thinned out. In response, the Wolves have been slowly trying to fit Williams into a role at the three-spot since the start of the preseason.
Adelman is also sorting through other options on the wing in search of the right combinations. Brewer nabbed the starting spot, but Cunningham and rookies Shabazz Muhammad and Robbie Hummel are also in the mix along with Williams.
Patience, Adelman insists, is the key. There are plenty of chances upcoming for Williams to work his way in, and as his coach said, "He'll certainly get his opportunity." It comes down to waiting for the right match-up, whether that is Friday against Kevin Durant's Oklahoma City or later in the first weeks of the season.
"You've got to give him some time because his best spot is the four spot, and it's almost impossible to get him in at the four-spot," Adelman said. "So it's got to be the three. Then I have to make a decision, is that the best thing for our team as a whole?"