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Arizona's Derrick Williams, shown in Arizona's NCAA tournament win over Duke, met with Timberwolves officials.

Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

NBA DRAFT COMBINE

NBA PLAYOFFS

Derrick Williams tells Wolves: Choosing me is 'the right choice'

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA
  • Star Tribune
  • May 20, 2011 - 8:00 AM

CHICAGO - Arizona forward Derrick Williams interviewed with Timberwolves brass -- well, everybody except for coach Kurt Rambis -- on Wednesday night shortly after he arrived at the NBA's draft combine in Chicago.

On Thursday afternoon, he declared the Wolves have the chance to select this year's best player with the draft's second pick next month.

"Yes, sir, I definitely am," Williams said.

A 19-year-old who in two collegiate seasons has surged from being considered a possible first-round pick to one of the draft's top two players, Williams sure doesn't lack confidence.

Williams is expected to be selected second overall next month after Cleveland chooses Duke guard Kyrie Irving first.

The question now: The Wolves will do the selecting with that second pick, but will it be for themselves or another team?

Already it's clear the Wolves will shop that second pick in search of a more experienced player or players and quite possibly a later pick in the first round.

Thursday's rumor said the team is discussing a trade with Indiana involving Pacers forward Danny Granger. The report by an Ohio writer mentioned the names of Michael Beasley and Ricky Rubio as well as that No. 2 pick.

Wolves boss David Kahn in turn texted an inquiring Indianapolis reporter and asked if the team must include Kevin Love, too.

Williams interviewed with the Wolves, the Phoenix Suns and the Boston Celtics on his first night at the combine. The Suns own the draft's 13th pick and the Celtics have the 25th pick, so both teams would have to swing a big deal to select him.

"It doesn't really matter too much to me," Williams said when asked how much he cares whether he is taken first or second. "Whoever does choose me is making the right choice. Whoever doesn't choose me, I'm just going to try to get back at them and know why they didn't choose me."

Williams answered basketball and background questions during his 30-minute chat with Kahn, Assistant General Manager Tony Ronzone and members of the Wolves scouting staff. Like Irving, Williams is in Chicago only to talk with teams and for measuring and medical tests. He is not participating in on-court drills.

A year ago, Rambis was very much involved in interviewing and evaluating players during the predraft process. He also traveled with Kahn to Spain to scout Rubio and other players. This spring, he has remained at home in Los Angeles --where is doing some television work for the NBA playoffs -- while Kahn and company have traveled back to Spain and prepare for the draft.

Rambis' future as the team's head coach remains undecided a month after the season ended. Both Kahn and Rambis' agent on Thursday said his presence isn't an issue and isn't needed in Chicago.

Agent Warren LeGarie said his client was involved last year because it was Rambis' first draft on the job and he noted most teams don't have their head coaches in Chicago.

"We have no timetable," said LeGarie, who plans to meet with Kahn before he leaves Chicago on Sunday but who isn't necessarily expecting an answer on his client's future by then. "We have a contract for two more years. We're waiting for David to decide what he wants to do."

Williams, meanwhile, is waiting to see what smart team selects him and whether that team is the Timberwolves.

On Thursday, Williams declared himself an NBA small forward who can play some power forward, not the other way around as some teams project him. The Wolves currently have Michael Beasley, Wes Johnson and Anthony Randolph who all can play small forward. Williams' play has evoked some comparisons to Beasley, and he is working out five times a week in Los Angeles with Johnson, with whom he shares an agent.

"I'm not a 4 [power forward], I'm a 3 [small forward]," he said. "Whoever picks me will find that out. I'm just a lot more skilled than most people think I am."

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