Wessel: Derrick Williams will get his chance while Kevin Love recovers
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Derrick Williams wanted a chance to prove himself. Now, the second-overall pick in the 2011 draft has it.
With Wolves All-Star power forward Kevin Love having suffered a broken right hand Wednesday that will keep him out for six-to-eight weeks, Williams will have a chance to increase his playing time.
Williams' rookie season was basically a bust, and he was the first to admit as much.
It was no secret that Adelman didn't like Williams' attitude and effort. He seemed to be a player that wasn't used to having work hard and got by on natural ability. Adelman's frustration with Williams meant the forward's name was linked to many teams in trade rumors.
But that served as a wakeup call for the 21-year old. He lost about 15 pounds this offseason in part to get in shape to play small forward. He had surgery on his septum in May to improve his breathing. And now he finds himself in a situation where he can find redemption.
The Wolves were already in trouble without star point guard Ricky Rubio for the first two months of the season. Losing Love makes matters worse. The rest of the Wolves -- especially Williams -- will have to step up in order to keep the ship afloat while Love and Rubio sit on the bench.
We'll know more once Adelman talks, but Love's minutes at power forward would seem likely to go to Williams. Others candidates could include veteran newcomer Andrei Kirilenko, who can play both forward positions, and veteran Dante Cunningham, a guy Adelman seems to like.
Nonetheless, the situation sets up perfectly for Williams. The plan was to use Williams at small forward in an effort to get him playing time.
But now Williams can play his more natural position of power forward. He was being a good soldier and going along with the position change, but it wasn't hard to tell there was some uneasiness about it. That uneasiness played out during what has been an up-and-down preseason.
Williams had 25 points with six rebounds, two assists, three steals and a block in 38 minutes last Friday in the Wolves' 96-91 loss at Indiana, but played only 13 minutes and had one point and five rebounds in a 114-81 victory over Israeli team Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday at Target Center.
The Wolves have three more preseason games before the regular-season opener Nov. 2 against Sacramento.
Williams wanted his chance. Now he has it.
It's time to see what he's got.