Injury means opportunity for Wolves' Williams, again

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 6, 2013 - 9:42 PM

Derrick Williams will be asked once more to step up with Kevin Love again sidelined by a broken hand.

hide

Wolves forward Derrick Williams

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman usually is a man of few words, and he becomes one of even fewer still when asked if second-year forward Derrick Williams is better prepared now than he was two months ago to seize opportunity.

"He better be," Adelman said. "I mean, he better be."

Williams is getting a second chance now that All-Star forward Kevin Love has broken his shooting hand for a second time in three months.

Williams started the first nine games this season when Love was out after breaking his hand the first time, in October. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft received that distinction even though Dante Cunningham clearly had outplayed him in the preseason, but Adelman preferred Cunningham's energy and defense off the bench.

When Love returned just before Thanksgiving, Williams quickly found himself mostly buried on the bench.

Saturday afternoon, an MRI revealed Love had refractured the third metacarpal bone in his hand, and he will return this week to the same New York City hand specialist he saw three months ago to determine whether surgery will be needed this time around.

Saturday night, Williams went scoreless through three quarters, then scored 18 points in a fourth quarter when the Wolves erased a 22-point, third-quarter deficit and got within a basket in the final minute before ultimately losing 102-97 to a Portland team they are chasing for the West's final playoff spot.

Williams played the entire fourth quarter, much of it in a small frontcourt with Cunningham and Andrei Kirilenko where it's not exactly clear who's at what position.

"I think I am," the 6-8 Williams said when asked who the center is in that configuration.

Adelman lamented how his team "hung their heads" for three quarters before Williams' scoring led them back in a game when the Wolves played without either Love or Ricky Rubio, then lost center Nikola Pekovic to a strained hip.

"That's what we have, the opportunity is there," Adelman said afterwards when asked about Williams. "We have to compete, and there's no time. I just told them in the locker room: The games don't stop, the league doesn't stop for you. There's nobody coming over the mountain for us. It's who we have right now and what we have to do.

"Everybody has to step up -- Derrick, D.C., everybody -- and we'll have a chance. We can win games."

The 21-year-old Williams said he is ready when asked if he is better prepared to seize the moment this time. "I think so, maybe a little more focused," he said. "I've been working hard, man. It's really paying off. You can't just stop just because you have a little bit of success. Just keep doing what I'm doing and I think I'll be all right."

He often is the first Wolves player to arrive before games, meeting assistant coaches Bill Bayno and Shawn Respert 2 1/2 hours or more before opening tip, and often is one of the last to leave the practice floor as well.

A more-than-willing three-point shooter who has been told by coaches to get to the basket more aggressively, Williams has spent much of those before and after sessions working on his midrange shot.

"Just out here getting shots up when nobody else is on the court," Williams said. "I have the whole court to myself, just trying to knock down shots I know I can make. Earlier in the year, I was missing shots I know I can make. I think a lot of people know I can shoot the three or get to the basket, I'm just working on the midrange game and being able to knock it down."

He created 12 of those 18 fourth-quarter points Saturday from right around the basket, making six of nine field-goal attempts that included two three-pointers.

But he also missed two crucial layups in traffic, including one that would have tied the score with 29 seconds left had he not gotten bumped and missed a shot that he threw to himself. The crowd roared when he put the ball back in the basket, but he was called for traveling.

The other miss came when Williams attempted one of his wild, gyrating leaps around the basket and threw the ball blindly off the backboard.

"I just think it takes time," he said. "Earlier in the season, I was really struggling around the basket. I think it's getting at least a little bit better, finishing those. I'm just trying to go up and dunk it. If I miss, I miss. At least I'm attacking the basket hard."

  • WOLVES VS. ATLANTA

    7 p.m. Tuesday •Target Center • TV: FSN (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 12:10 PM
Miami - H. Alvarez
Philadelphia - C. Hamels 12:10 PM
Atlanta - J. Teheran
Boston - R. De La Rosa 12:10 PM
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly
Minnesota - P. Hughes 12:35 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Pittsburgh - G. Cole 1:15 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
Milwaukee - J. Nelson 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Turner
Detroit - D. Price 3:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Kluber
Seattle - C. Young 3:05 PM
Oakland - J. Hammel
San Francisco 2 Suspended
Colorado 2
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
San Diego - T. Ross
San Francisco - T. Hudson 4:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
Washington - G. Gonzalez 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 3:30 PM
Calgary
Indiana 3:00 PM
Chicago
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 many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close