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

Golden State 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Vancouver 1 2nd Prd
Buffalo 1
Arizona 3 2nd Prd
NY Rangers 1
Montreal 3 2nd Prd
Columbus 1
Philadelphia 0 1st Prd 10:55
Toronto 0
Chicago 1 1st Prd 9:08
Florida 0
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 7:30 PM
Nashville
Ottawa 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Detroit 9:30 PM
San Jose
Northern Ky 78 FINAL
Kennesaw St 53
East Tenn St 71 2nd Half 0:48
Citadel 69
Winthrop 25 2nd Half
Campbell 30
Delaware 35 2nd Half
Drexel 28
Jacksonville St 23 2nd Half
Eastern Ky 29
Northeastern 27 2nd Half
Elon 28
Sacred Heart 44 2nd Half
Fair-Dickinson 40
Western Carolina 24 2nd Half
Furman 19
Char Southern 37 2nd Half
Gardner-Webb 44
Western Ill 25 2nd Half
IUPUI 34
Nebraska Omaha 28 2nd Half
IUPU-Ft Wayne 36
Radford 30 2nd Half
Liberty 32
St Francis-NY 25 1st Half 1:08
Long Island 28
Wofford 35 2nd Half
Mercer 25
Minnesota 36 2nd Half
Michigan State 41
High Point 42 2nd Half
UNC-Asheville 41
Samford 33 2nd Half
UNC Greensboro 36
Nebraska 24 2nd Half
Ohio State 42
Wagner 29 2nd Half
Robert Morris 44
Mount St Marys 26 2nd Half
St Francis-PA 30
Houston 34 2nd Half
Temple 29
Vanderbilt 19 2nd Half
Tennessee 30
Chattanooga 31 2nd Half
Va Military 36
Milwaukee 26 2nd Half
Wright State 28
Coastal Carolina 23 2nd Half
Presbyterian 34
Central Conn St 34 2nd Half
Bryant 29
Ga Southern 16 1st Half 11:01
Appalachian St 2
SIU Edwardsville 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Green Bay 7:00 PM
Ill-Chicago
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
FIU 7:00 PM
Marshall
Rider 7:00 PM
Monmouth
Eastern Ill 7:00 PM
Murray State
Charlotte 7:00 PM
North Texas
North Dakota St 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Old Dominion 7:00 PM
Rice
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Tennessee St
Fla Atlantic 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Northern Ariz 7:00 PM
North Dakota
Grand Canyon 7:05 PM
Chicago State
Utah Valley U 7:05 PM
UMKC
ULM 7:05 PM
South Alabama
Texas-Arlington 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 7:30 PM
Ark-Little Rock
Troy 7:30 PM
Texas State
Arizona 8:00 PM
Colorado
SMU 8:00 PM
Memphis
Tenn Tech 8:00 PM
Morehead State
Rutgers 8:00 PM
Purdue
Southern Utah 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Montana State 8:05 PM
Eastern Wash
UC Davis 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
UC Irvine 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Montana 9:00 PM
Idaho
BYU 9:00 PM
Portland
Pacific 9:00 PM
Santa Clara
Arizona State 9:30 PM
Utah
San Diego 10:00 PM
Gonzaga
St Marys-CA 10:00 PM
San Francisco
Oregon State 10:00 PM
Stanford
Long Beach State 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Rice 68 FINAL
Old Dominion 83
Manhattan 67 FINAL
Monmouth 84
Georgia Southern 39 FINAL
Appalachian St 66
Marshall 74 FINAL
FIU 50
TX-Arlington 60 2nd Half 0:38
Arkansas State 63
ULM 40 2nd Half 1:28
South Alabama 34
Troy 54 2nd Half 8:35
Texas State 48
Georgia State 33 2nd Half 15:00
Ark-Little Rock 43
William & Mary 45 2nd Half
Coll of Charleston 33
Delaware 34 2nd Half
UNC-Wilmington 22
UMBC 13 1st Half 1:51
Maine 26
UMass Lowell 30 2nd Half
Vermont 25
Albany 27 2nd Half
Hartford 18
Stony Brook 30 2nd Half
Binghamton 28
Boston College 31 2nd Half
(8) Louisville 46
(23) Syracuse 33 2nd Half
Clemson 23
(16) Duke 19 2nd Half
Georgia Tech 33
Florida 22 1st Half 0:10
Alabama 25
NC State 27 2nd Half
(9) Florida State 39
Miami-Florida 33 2nd Half
Wake Forest 34
LSU 23 2nd Half
Ole Miss 27
(11) Miss State 23 1st Half 0:54
(2) South Carolina 35
Fairfield 38 1st Half 0:02
Iona 26
Marist 28 2nd Half
Saint Peters 27
Quinnipiac 51 1st Half 1:22
Rider 19
Virginia 33 2nd Half
(15) North Carolina 35
Pittsburgh 27 2nd Half
(4) Notre Dame 40
Ohio State 36 2nd Half
Penn State 30
Massachusetts 30 2nd Half
Dayton 40
(22) George Washington 33 2nd Half
Richmond 29
Saint Louis 21 2nd Half
Rhode Island 38
Wright State 34 2nd Half
Detroit 33
Green Bay 38 2nd Half
Oakland 20
Western Ky 23 1st Half 6:59
Florida Atlantic 14
Indiana 35 2nd Half
(5) Maryland 47
North Texas 23 1st Half 3:25
Charlotte 29
Central Arkansas 2 1st Half 13:47
Sam Houston St 6
SE Louisiana 17 1st Half 10:41
Northwestern St 6
Nicholls 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Denver 7:00 PM
No Dakota State
IUPU-Ft Wayne 7:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
IUPUI 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Lamar 7:00 PM
McNeese State
Western Ill 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Missouri 7:00 PM
(12) Texas A&M
(13) Kentucky 7:00 PM
Arkansas
(20) Rutgers 7:00 PM
(25) Northwestern
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wisconsin 7:00 PM
(17) Iowa
North Dakota 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Northern Colorado 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Louisiana Tech 0 Postponed
Texas-El Paso 0
Eastern Washington 8:00 PM
Montana State
Idaho 8:00 PM
Montana
Auburn 8:00 PM
Vanderbilt
(6) Tennessee 8:00 PM
Georgia
Gonzaga 8:00 PM
San Diego
USC 8:00 PM
Washington
Portland 8:00 PM
BYU
(24) California 8:00 PM
Oregon
(19) Stanford 8:00 PM
(7) Oregon State
Chicago State 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
UMKC 8:00 PM
Utah Valley U
San Francisco 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
UCLA 9:00 PM
Washington St
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
Pacific
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
Cal-Irvine
Hawaii 9:00 PM
Long Beach St
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Davis
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: How do you like the Kevin Garnett trade?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close