With news of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ superstar power forward breaking his hand while working out at home, the T-Wolves’ playoff hopes look to be effectively squashed. Already without their star point guard Ricky Rubio to start the season as he recovers from his own knee injury, the loss of the Wolves’ offensive linchpin may be too much to bear for the admittedly much-improved supporting cast.
And yet, for the long term health of the franchise, this month could prove to be a crucial opportunity for former number two overall draft pick Derrick Williams to showcase his talents at his more natural power forward spot. After being debated as possibly being the number one for a while, Williams’ stock has since plummeted as minutes at the “4″ are limited in ‘Sota thanks to the presence of Love. Instead, Williams has been forced to play on the perimeter, where he is too slow and too inconsistent of a shooter to be an impact player. Playing closer to the basket again, Williams can use his quickness advantage against bigger players and perhaps showcase some of that talent which made him such a coveted player a year ago.
With Williams’ stock so low at the moment, any trade will not get them optimal value in return for the talent which he still appears to possess. With a month of strong performances on tape, Minnesota will be better placed to receive full value for Williams. Alternatively, if he goes out there and stinks it up, at least Minnesota will have a better idea of what they actually have with him.
The Wolves did appear to have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs, considering both their upgrades at wing and the state of one of their chief rival for the 8th seed (Dallas will be without Dirk Nowitzki for 6-10 weeks as well). However, the opportunity to solve the Williams/Love logjam at power forward could be more important for the franchise in the big picture.