Slim, aggressive Williams opens Wolves' eyes and minds

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 3, 2012 - 1:31 PM

Wolves coaches were pleased to see the forward's new body and assertiveness.

MANKATO - Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams lost more than 10 pounds and reduced his body fat to a mere 7.3 percent last summer so he can better play the small-forward position across from Kevin Love's power-forward spot this season.

So what did the Wolves do while Williams forsook fast food and ran ocean sand dunes back home in Los Angeles all summer?

They went out and signed small forward Andrei Kirilenko to a two-year contract that guarantees him $20 million and struck a trade for that same position with Houston that brought in Chase Budinger, a favorite of Wolves coach Rick Adelman from when both were with the Rockets.

Mention the juxtaposition to Williams and he just smiles and laughs, perhaps more bemused than amused.

"I try not to look at it like that," he said.

He also says he does not look at his rookie season as disappointing for a No. 2 overall draft pick, a notably inconsistent year in which he almost singlehandedly beat the Clippers in Los Angeles with a 27-point game one night and then was mostly invisible at Phoenix two nights later.

"I don't look at it as a disappointment because I was the only one on the team that played all 66 games," he said about the lockout-shortened season. "I stayed healthy throughout the whole season. I may not have played the best, but I think I did all right. I'm obviously not happy that I could have contributed more than I did.

"I wouldn't say I let myself down. I think I learned from it."

Williams learned he needed to be in much better shape than he started last season, and clearly succeeded in that goal when he reported for Tuesday's start of training camp.

Now he just needs to heed coach Rick Adelman's message that he must become a more aggressive, focused, aware player who settles for fewer outside shots and gets to the basket much more. He displayed all those qualities Tuesday in what Wolves assistant coach Bill Bayno called the best practice thus far in Williams' short NBA career.

"Last year, he just floated, you'd see it once in a while," Adelman said. "Today, he just played with more authority. He just played harder. That's the difference. You've got to play hard in this league. You can't cruise or it's not going to work. I was pleased the way he played today. We'll see if it continues on."

Williams weighed nearly 230 pounds when he played for the Wolves' Las Vegas Summer League team in July after playing last season at nearly 250 pounds. He said he has since gained back about five pounds because he felt too weak in Las Vegas, but he hopes to continue using the aggressiveness that got him to the free-throw line repeatedly against lesser summer competition.

He lost the weight so he could play more small forward, a position he played little last season because he couldn't defend opponents out on the floor.

Now Adelman and Williams contend that he really isn't a small forward, because that's not his natural position, nor a power forward because the Wolves already have two-time All-Star Love there.

Rather, he's just a forward, one whom Adelman can pair with new teammates Kirilenko and Dante Cunningham. Like Williams, those players can play both forward spots.

"He's a guy who can attack the basket," Adelman said. "And he needs to do that."

He did that Tuesday and left Bayno, Adelman and new teammate Brandon Roy impressed.

"He's extremely talented," Roy said. "He makes explosive plays that nobody can guard. I'm trying to tell him to now do it every time.

"The biggest thing now is to get his motor going. He's a good guy by nature, so he's kind of laid back. He just needs to get that mentality that he wants to dominate. He should want to be a dominate player."

First practice

The Wolves practiced nearly four hours -- almost one hour longer than scheduled -- on Tuesday. Budinger sat beside injured Ricky Rubio and watched scrimmage situations that ended practice because of a sore hamstring that has bothered him.

Backup center Greg Stiemsma was not held out of any portion because of plantar fasciitis in his foot that's being monitored carefully.

Roy, attempting a comeback after he retired last season because of degenerative knees, declared himself healthy afterward and ready for Wednesday's practice. "There's a bunch of different bridges I'm crossing and this is another one," he said. "Getting out there today, I just felt really good."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco 4 Top 4th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 3rd Prd 7:01
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 3rd Prd 8:00
Columbus 5
Pittsburgh 1 3rd Prd
Detroit 0
Montreal 0 2nd Prd
Chicago 0
Arizona 0 1st Prd 16:10
Edmonton 0
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which struggling team is in the worst shape?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close