67 GP, 24.7 MPG, 8.5 PPG, .437 FG%, 4.4 RPG, 0.8 AST, 0.7 STL, 0.2 BLK, 1.0 TOV, 1.6 PF
Needs to work on:
- Confidence and Aggressiveness
- Set Shots
- Mid-Range Game
When the Kings acquired Derrick Williams early in the season for Luc Mbah a Moute, it was a gamble that Williams would be able to finally live up to the potential given a fresh start in a new environment.
Williams had his moments for sure, particularly in a few games as a starter shortly after we acquired him, such as when he dropped 31 points on the Mavericks in a blowout win. Unfortunately there just wasn't any real consistency with Williams (aside from when he played the Timberwolves, where he averaged 15.3 points on 52.9% shooting over 4 games), and his role took a big hit once the Kings traded for Rudy Gay just about a month later. Williams became a reserve but didn't seem to have quite the same impact off the bench as he did in the starting unit.
Williams' strengths lie in attacking the basket and running the open floor, where he's a terror in transition since he can both handle the ball on a break and/or be the finisher. About a third of Williams' total FGA came right at the rim, and he shot a very good 67.4% on those attempts. He also showcased a great ability to get to the line, with an excellent .568 Free Throw Attempt Rate. His problems lie everywhere else on the court offensively, as he failed to shoot higher than 35.7% from any other distance, with jumpers being particularly troublesome. 297 of Williams' 481 FGA in 2014 (61.7%) were jumpers according to basketball-reference, and he only shot 28.3% on those. That's a problem in that he really hasn't shown much improvement in his shot since coming to the league, yet still takes a bunch of them.
Because of his lack of shooting, Williams makes an awkward fit positionally. He's either a big SF who can't shoot or a small PF who can get overwhelmed inside. Fixing the jump shot has to be a priority regardless, but there also needs to be some guidance from the Kings as to what they want him to be. Right now it appears his future is at the wing, especially with Sacramento's glut of PFs and the very good possibility that Rudy Gay is not a Sacramento King next season.
Even with his offensive struggles and inconsistencies, Williams finds a way to be able to contribute offensively. The Kings were slightly better with him on offense than without him (0.8 points per 100 possessions) and they probably could have been even better had he stuck to his strengths and cut out a lot of the jumpers. Because Williams is so good near the basket and attacking the rim as the statistics indicate, he shouldn't be settling, especially with his jump shot as weak as it is.
Defense is another area where Williams needs to get a lot better. He's got the athleticism to become a good defender, but often got lost in the team defensive schemes and suffered when playing against quicker wings or bigger and stronger big men (again, weird fit positionally). The Kings were 2.2 points per 100 possessions worse with him defensively, but it's not like they were great without him. He likely needs to trim down a bit if he's going to become a full time SF, and he hopefully does better with another year's experience under him.
Williams definitely has a lot of talent, and it's nice to see the Kings intent on developing him. He could end up being a very valuable piece if he harnesses that talent, and with next season being the last of his rookie contract, he'll have to take a big step in the right direction to earn another contract and become a piece of Sacramento's future.
2014 Season in Review Compendium: