When the Kings traded for Derrick Williams back in December of 2013, it was considered a gamble, albeit a low risk one. Williams had yet to live up to the expectations that came with being a #2 overall draft pick.
For a short while after he arrived in Sacramento, things were looking up for Williams. He had a set role with the Kings as the new starting Small Forward and there were even a couple games where all that potential came out to play. Of course, then the Kings went ahead and made an even bigger gamble by trading for Rudy Gay, and all of a sudden Williams role was in flux once again.
This is Williams' fourth year in the league and his last of his rookie contract. The pressure is on him now more than ever to try to carve a niche in the league, especially with Omri Casspi breathing down his neck. That's why it's a little worrying that what we've seen from him so far this offseason and preseason has been less than impressive.
The problem with Williams has always been one of fit. He's what you would call a "tweener": not a true Small Forward, not a true Power Forward, but something in the middle. Williams' strengths lie in his athleticism and touch around the rim. Unfortunately he's far too fond of his jump shot despite plenty of evidence that it isn't anywhere near effective. Just take a look at his shooting chart from last season:
As for other parts of his game, he's a decent defensive rebounder but that's about his only defensive contribution. He's also not a good passer with a career assist rate of just 4.5% which is a problem for a team that is trying to make ball movement an emphasis this year.
Williams is talented enough that there should be a spot for him on this team. With the fast pace the Kings are hoping to run he could excel on the fastbreak. He's also seemed to do much better when he's been aggressive, and there will be opportunities to be aggressive in coming off the bench.
The Kings still have most of preseason left so it's not a given that Williams has played himself out of the rotation just yet. But if this pace keeps up, he will and that's not good for him or the Kings. Here's hoping that Williams can figure it out sooner rather than later.