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Derrick Williams is playing better than he has in a while... and it's still not good enough

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Following Sacramento's loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday, head coach George Karl had some damning words for one of his players.

From James Ham:

Derrick Williams was the only member of the Kings to not get a board despite playing almost 27 minutes.  For comparison, backup Point Guard Andre Miller had 4 in just 14 minutes as did the 6'1, 165 lb rookie Bryce Cotton for Utah.  Once again, Derrick Williams is failing to live up to expectations.

It's been a problem for Derrick all of his career, ever since he was chosen with the 2nd pick of the draft.  He was meant to be a forward that could stretch the floor and attack the basket.  It's been four years now and Williams has yet to find a niche in the NBA.

It's a shame really, because it's clear that Williams has talent.  In fact, under George Karl he's actually been playing rather well as a Small Forward.  He's finally hitting three pointers with some consistency (37.9% under Karl) and he's averaging 9.2 points in just 21 minutes, a number better than any since his second year in the league.

But it's still not good enough.  While Williams is shooting and running the floor better, he's not providing much of anything else.  His rebounding has fallen off dramatically.  When he came into the league his first two years, he was actually rebounding at a league average rate for a PF and above average rate for a SF.  Now he's well below average, corralling just 12.0% of all defensive rebounds.  That's the lowest percentage of any of Sacramento's forwards.  He's also not a good passer, with an assist rate of just 5.1%.  Given that his turnover rate is also low (9.3%) that basically means that whenever Williams gets the ball, he's planning on shooting it.  That's fine if you're a lights out scorer, but Williams is hardly that.

Defensively, Williams is a massive liability.  According to, Williams is allowing players to shoot 72.5% on shots less than 6 ft to the basket (+12.7% over league average) and 65.7% on shots less than 10 ft to the basket (+11.0%).

Williams can be exciting at times.  He's a phenomenal athlete and ridiculous dunker.  But he doesn't bring enough to the game to merit so much playing time.  His game is still based off of "potential", and that's never good four years into an NBA career.