Note: As part of our draft week coverage, the entire staff at Crossover Chronicles have decided to play the role of General Manager. We’ll be presenting our lottery picks from today through Thursday. As we reported yesterday, the Cleveland Cavaliers have reportedly condirmed that they will draft Duke’s Kyrie Erving with the first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. With that in mind, Brendan Bowers, who will be representing the Cleveland Cavaliers in our mock draft, also has Irving first, so we’ll start with the second pick, which belongs to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With the second pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select Derrick Williams from the University of Arizona.
Williams is the only player in this draft that compares favorably, as far as potential impact, to Duke’s Kyrie Irving. The Cleveland Cavaliers are doing everyone a favor by drafting Irving and sparing us from another round of T-Wolves point guard draft jokes. In Williams, the Wolves will get an athletic big who can hit open jumpers and finish at the rim. At 6’9″, he might be a little small to play power forward, but at 240 lbs, he can use his frame to create some space.
It will be interesting to see how Williams fares against NBA talent. Will his first step, which got him where he needed to be in college, be fast enough to create space in the pros? Will he be able to adapt to playing some small forward if the TWolves need him to step out a little more? Until he actually takes the floor against NBA talent, those questions will be tough to answer. But for Minnesota, Williams is the most talented guy on the board after the first pick, so you’ve got to take him and hope he blossoms into the solid contributor most people think he’ll be.
This will make things a little tight at the forward spot for Minnesota, but that also gives them an opportunity to trade one of those extra bigs to fill another need. It’ll be a little surprising if this draft produces a superstar player, but Williams has a polished enough game to make a contribution within the flow of Minnesota’s offense… which is something someone like Michael Beasley wasn’t always able to say. By inserting Williams and moving Beasley, the Wolves might find a better balance some missing veteran leadership that they’ve been missing.