Williams was traded to the Kings on Wednesday (11/26) night in exchange for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
Williams spent Thursday getting acclimated to his new teammates and his new surroundings. Derrick went through that single day of practice before being thrown into the fire tonight.
Williams started at the small forward along with Greivis Vasquez, Ben McLemore, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins.
Derrick played just over 32 minutes in his debut and finished with 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover and 3 fouls. He shot 6-for-13 from the field, 0-for-2 from deep and 0-for-1 from the line.
The game went into overtime, but the Kings lost to the Clippers (who were playing without Chris Paul and after the second quarter, J.J. Redick, as well).
In 11 games with the Timberwolves this season, Derrick had 1 assist. I watched tonight's game and he looked like a different player--one willing to make the extra pass. A number of his assists came on the fast break to rookie Ben McLemore. During his tenure with the Wolves, he'd often catch the ball and instead of swinging it, he stand there with it dribbling trying to make something happen--after five or six seconds of nothing, he'd either pass it away or take an ill-advised 17-footer.
Williams had a couple of nice alley-oop slams--something we hadn't seen much since his first couple seasons in the League. He did miss a couple mid & long range shots including a three-pointer he airballed in the 1:20 of overtime with the Kings down by four.
Derrick also looked like a guy who was playing with a purpose. In his debut with his new team, it comes as no surprise that he played with a lot of energy. His problem in Minnesota was not always playing with such fire/conviction. It'll be interesting to see if in another month if Sacramento continues to lose, if he'll play with the same conviction. Had Derrick played with the same energy and tenacity during his time in Minnesota...he might still be there--getting significant & meaningful minutes.
After Derrick was traded, he had this to say about playing in Minnesota: "There were times where I was like 'I'm definitely not going to play tonight,' and K-Love would have 25 & 15. Sometimes you have to come to grips with yourself and realize that. That's the reason why you never really heard any bad things or talks about me being bad in the locker room or being vocal about it. Sometimes you just have to come to grips with yourself and admit that the other person is better than you and you can learn from that guy."
Williams says he didn't gripe about the playing time, however after the first game of the season where he didn't play because of a DNP-CD, he told Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune when asked about how long he'll be patient: that he had been patient his first three years in the League and had no interest in being patient anymore. He also sent out a tweet before Minnesota's win over Boston a few weeks ago that read, "Bad Company corrupts good character". He may not have been referring to the Wolves organiztion, but when you write something like that, that's how people are going to take it. If Williams was a better player, these kinds of things would've gotten a lot of attention and been spun into the fact that he didn't want to be in Minnesota anymore (like the Dwight-mare).
I also hate the fact that people say he never got a shot in Minnesota. He started at power forward for the majority of the season with K-Love injured and only playing 18 games! He had A LOT of chances, but could never do anything to convince Adelman that he deserved consistent minutes--and that was because of his wildly inconsistent play!
To me, his quote about playing behind Kevin Love basically says that he accepted that Love was better and just didn't really try anymore. Not only does it sound like that to me, the way he played this season justified that.
I may sound bitter, but it's upsetting that he just seemed to give up early this season and didn't try and put in the work to earn more playing time. I'd like to say I wish him well in Sacramento, but if he continues to play well, it would be more upsetting than anything (because why couldn't he play well with passion & energy here).
That's all for now, I won't be writing anything more on Derrick until the Wolves meet the Kings for the first time this season: that will be on January 15th--the first of four meetings.