Wolves' Derrick Williams hopes slimming down brings game up

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 15, 2012 - 1:18 AM

Last year's No. 2 overall pick lost 15 pounds in preparation for trying to establish himself at small forward.

Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams reported to Target Center on Friday for the start of his second NBA season and his first summer-league minicamp 15 pounds slimmer than when he left in April.

He played his rookie season at 248 pounds and now is 233 after two months spent running the beach, lifting weights, changing his diet and working out two to three times a day back home in Los Angeles.

"He's not the chubby one anymore," teammate Wes Johnson said with a smile.

Williams changed his body in an effort to play small forward this season at the same time his team is throwing $46.5 million at Portland restricted free agent Nicolas Batum, who plays that same position.

Williams just laughed when asked about that juxtaposition.

"He's a great player, man," he said. "I've seen him play before, this season, even before I got to the NBA. It's really not about a hammer [over his head] or anything like that. It's just about me getting better. If I played a little better last season, maybe we wouldn't be having this talk right now."

Williams played almost exclusively at power forward -- backing up two-time All-Star Kevin Love there when everyone was healthy -- during an uneven rookie season, particularly for one selected No. 2 overall last summer.

"I know I can play a lot better than I did," Williams said. "In some parts of last season, I thought I had some good games. I just need to be more consistent. I had a couple games against the Clippers where I had 27 [points] and eight [rebounds] and the next game I'd have six and three."

Williams had a discussion about that kind of inconsistency with Wolves coach Rick Adelman after last season, and they came to a mutual agreement.

"Make shots when I'm open, get to the basket when I can, do a little bit of everything," he said. "Just staying ready and staying a little more focused, too. That's a big part of it, especially when I was out for periods of time and coming back into the game."

Last year's labor lockout canceled summer-league practices and games and reduced preseason from a month's work down to mere days.

Williams is hopeful a complete summer and fall with Wolves coaches will make a noticeable difference.

"Last season, my last game was in March and I didn't play a game until December," Williams said. "This is going to be good."

He also underwent May surgery to repair his septum and correct a breathing problem that he knew he had but never realized how much it might have affected him.

"I can actually breathe out of my nose now," he said.

And then there's that 15-pound weight loss, which is intended to allow him to play a small-forward spot that he always has claimed is his natural NBA position but at which last season he struggled to defend.

"He's leaned up," Johnson said. "I think that weight suits him better now."

Williams, 21, now theoretically is quicker to defend small forwards, but he said he expects to notice the difference when he is asked to play power forward, although he hopes his speed will compensate against bigger, stronger players such as Paul Millsap and Pau Gasol.

Two questions remain, however: Where does he fit with a Wolves team that already has Love at power forward and is pursuing Batum, whom basketball boss David Kahn suggests might be a "missing piece?" Or does he fit?

Just one season into his NBA career, Williams already has heard his name mentioned repeatedly in trade rumors. Some have him headed to Portland in a sign-and-trade for Batum. Previous ones had him headed back home to Los Angeles for the Lakers' Gasol.

"I really don't pay attention to it," he said. "It's not my job to worry about that. My job is only to get out here and play basketball. It happens. Everybody goes through it. I just try to push through it. Hopefully, I stay here."

  • related content

  • Derrick Williams, left

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 66 4th Qtr 5:53
Utah 69
New York 58 3rd Qtr
Sacramento 67
Minnesota 27 2nd Qtr 8:59
Golden State 36
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 4 3rd Prd 10:22
Colorado 2
Edmonton 0 2nd Prd 12:52
Calgary 3
San Jose 1 2nd Prd 16:39
Los Angeles 1
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 56 1st OT 0:37
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 29 2nd Half 16:32
UNLV 48
SD Christian 27 2nd Half 14:50
San Diego St 49
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 34 4th Qtr
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Gophers head coach?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close