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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

PRO/CON: Where should D-Will want to land?

Derrick+Williams+celebrates+a+basket+when+the+UA+men%3Fs+basketball+team+took+on+the+Texas+Longhorns+during+the+third-round+of+the+2011+NCAA+Basketball+Championships+on+March+20%2C+in+the+BOK+Center+in+Tulsa%2C+Okla.+The+Wildcats+held+off+a+Longhorn+charge+to+advance+70-69.
Derrick Williams celebrates a basket when the UA men?s basketball team took on the Texas Longhorns during the third-round of the 2011 NCAA Basketball Championships on March 20, in the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. The Wildcats held off a Longhorn charge to advance 70-69.

Cleveland: No. 1 too much to pass up

There is an unmistakable allure about being selected No. 1 overall. From being the first kid chosen for a game of playground kickball to being rated as a top recruit heading into college, it’s always the goal to know that years of training pay off and others recognize it.

For Derrick Williams, that allure will be in full effect during Thursday’s NBA Draft, when he is widely expected to be the only other prospect who might challenge Duke’s Kyrie Irving for the top spot.

And if you’re Williams, you should be crossing your fingers to be the first name called.

There is no denying that the Cavaliers struck draft lottery gold, garnering both the first and fourth overall picks. However, in a draft that is widely predicted to be the weakest since 2000 (when Kenyon “”your lips here”” Martin was the top pick) it’s uncertain that whatever complementary player the Cavs pick up at the fourth slot will have a profound impact on a gutted roster.

While the Cavs are not quite as bad as their record suggests, given how decimated they were by injuries last year, their lack of a solid point guard to aid Williams’ transition to small forward at the next level will severely hamper his development. But what about Baron Davis, you say? Well, what about Baron Davis? 

 It seems highly unlikely that Williams will fall below the second slot in this year’s draft. The Minnesota Timberwolves, who hold the pick, will either find a suitor enamored of Williams who wants to move up or will take the consensus number two prospect for themselves. Barring a highly unlikely trade (i.e. Williams going to the Suns, the Lakers, the Heat) Williams will most likely be selected by the Timberwolves.  

The T-Wolves are a team with a few nice pieces and the talent on the roster is undeniable: Kevin Love led the league in rebounding last year and Michael Beasley (a former No. 2 selection himself) quietly had a breakout year. Plus, the long-awaited debut of Spanish point guard phenom Ricky Rubio is right around the corner.

Of course, they have their problems. For one, Williams’ transition to small forward would give them a glut at the position along with Beasley and Anthony Randolph (who has been traded more times than the fruitcake at an employee gift swap). For two, Darko Milicic. But Williams would join a roster that is flush with young talent and in dire need of a dynamic offensive weapon.

But which team is the better fit for Williams’ undeniable talents? That answer is the Cavaliers.

While the Cavs’ roster is holier than the Vatican, they have no one at the small forward position to challenge Williams. Adding Williams to current frontcourt piece J.J. Hickson would give the Cavs an undeniably athletic frontcourt along with Anderson Varejao, who, despite flopping more than a fry cook at your local Denny’s, is a reliable defensive anchor.

The Cavs also do have the fourth pick, which, though far from a sure thing, could be used on a point guard, maybe another Wildcat in Kentucky’s Brandon Knight, who could be a running mate for years to come.

In this instance, the prestige of No. 1 could fit hand-in-hand with future promise. If I’m Williams, I’m hoping to be a Cleveland Cavalier when all is said and done.  

Luke Money is the editor in chief of the Summer Wildcat. He can be reached at editor@wildcat.arizona.edu

Minnesota: Lower expectations, closer to winning

Any sensible person should want to stay as far away from the Cleveland Cavaliers organization as possible – even if that means going No. 2 overall in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

Whoever ends up going No. 1 to Cleveland is going to have a very stressful beginning to his NBA career. Because of Dan Gilbert’s “”guarantee”” that Cleveland will win an NBA Championship before LeBron James does, some unlucky rookie is going to have the hopes of an entire organization pinned on him, as unreasonable as that might be.

Couple that with Cavs fans’ rationale that a rash of injuries prevented last year’s team from at least being competitive and making a playoff push and you end up with unrealistic expectations that will be heaped on a 19- or 20-year-old.

Being thrown into the middle of an organization that’s still smarting from the loss of its supposed savior isn’t how anyone wants to start an NBA career.But if Derrick Williams goes to the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 2, he’ll have an opportunity to grow without an entire city’s hopes on his back, and without having a pair of king-sized shoes to fill.

So, not only would Minnesota get closer to being competitive, but Williams would be a better NBA player after being able to learn to play at the next level without the pressure of saving a franchise.

And whoever ends up going No. 2 may not even be the most scrutinized rookie on the team, with the addition of Spanish guard Ricky Rubio, who was taken fifth overall two years ago.

Especially given that Williams is expected to transition to small forward, staying out of the limelight and away from asinine championship aspirations is the best-case scenario for the 20-year-old, whose position change will only be helped by playing with a dynamic point guard.

Couple that with having a chance to learn from Michael Beasley, who has a similar skill set to Williams’, and it’s clear that Minnesota is the better fit. 

-Alex Williams is the sports editor of the Summer Wildcat. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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