It might not be the playmaker LeBron James was asking for, but it’s a low risk, potential high reward. The Cavaliers signed former No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams to a 10-day contract. He was released by the Miami Heat on Monday.
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Coincidentally, Williams was in the same draft as Kyrie Irving in 2011. I remember there being debates about who the Cavaliers should select first in that draft. Some had doubts about Irving because he was coming off an injury-plagued tenure at Duke.
Free agent Derrick Williams is signing a 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, league sources tell @TheVertical.
However, others wanted to see a combo of Williams and Kemba Walker with the first and fourth picks. While Walker is having a career year this season, Williams is a bust and I think we all know how great Irving is.
Williams has been on four different teams in six years. He’s known in the NBA as a “tweener.” That is a player that is usually between 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-8; too small to play the 4 and too slow to be an effective 3. This can also be used with the guard position.
Anthony Bennett, who is another bust picked by the Cavaliers, had this issue. He was 6-foot-8 and close to 300 pounds when he was drafted out of UNLV.
He wasn’t fast enough to guard NBA small forwards and not physical enough to match up with opposing power forwards. The same could be said about Williams, but he has a lot more versatility and athleticism to his game than Bennett.
Williams is averaging his 5.9 points per game this season, the second-lowest mark of his career. He’s also playing only 15.1 minutes per game, also the second-lowest of his career. In his one appearance against the Cavaliers this year, he had a 17-point game.
The Cavs didn’t bring him in to be a big contributor. He was signed to give LeBron James a break–especially with him playing 37 minutes a game.
They do have Richard Jefferson and James Jones, but with both of them at the end of their careers, it would be asking a lot for both of them to play 20-25 minutes a game.
At only 25 years old, Williams has more than enough energy to play extended minutes. The biggest question is, will he produce? NBA fans know that he’s entertaining on the court with his powerful dunks, but can he do the little things?
Will he be able to stay with his man defensively? Will his three-point percentage go up since he’ll have more opportunities to get open?–he’s currently shooting 20 percent from long-range.
I don’t know if he’s in the long-term plans of the Cavaliers going forward, but it’s a solid pickup in order to give James and Love more of a break. I’m not expecting the second coming of Ben Wallace, nor should Cavaliers fans.