“If I had played a little better, maybe we wouldn’t be having this talk,” Williams said Friday, July 13, on the first day of the Timberwolves’ minicamp at Target Center to prepare for next week’s NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. “I had an up-and-down rookie season. I know I can play better than what I did. Hopefully, I can play better next season.”
via Wolves’ Williams concedes his play led to trade rumors By Ray Richardson – TwinCities.com.
That’s Wolves forward Derrick Williams on trade rumors surrounding him possibly being sent to the Trail Blazers in a possible sign-and-trade for Nicolas Batum as Portland weighs matching Minnesota’s offer for Batum or arranging a sign-and-trade with the Timberwolves.
In an NBA where players are understandably defensive due to the fan and media criticism, where so many guys pass the buck to injuries, teammates, coaches, personal lives, whatever, it’s really nice to see a young player entering his second season actually taking responsibility.
Williams is young, and has a lot of games ahead of him. He’s not the youngest with so many years in college, but he’s still got a lot of upside. His tweener status makes things difficult, as does where he’s at in Minnesota. He could play the 3 on some teams, but not with how he fits with the Wolves. He could play the 4 for a lot of teams, but not with Kevin Love in Minnesota. A fresh start wouldn’t be the worst thing for him. The Wolves were shopping the No.2 pick they used on him up until the last minute for a reason.
But this kind of quote should stand out. He could lash out, or blame coaching, or management or teammates. He could just talk about how he’s not worried about it and only focused on the future. But he owns up to it. Wish we saw more of this from players in the league. Cheers, Derrick.
The Spurs have been the Spurs this season, going 19-8 with an elite defense and offense that’s good enough to get them wins, thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge playing at an All-Star level.
Starting Tuesday, they add Kawhi Leonard back to the mix.
He will return to the lineup against Dallas, but will be on a minutes restriction, coach Gregg Popovich said on Tuesday. He would not say how many minutes, although around 20 seems a logical starting spot.
Leonard is one of the five best players in the NBA (and that may be selling him short). He averaged a career-high 25.5 points a game last season, he’s arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, and he finished third in the MVP voting last season.
However, there are going to be adjustments. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the focal point of the offense, but he could see fewer touches, particularly in crunch time. Kyle Anderson could see fewer minutes, and Rudy Gay may as well because Popovich liked some small-ball lineups last season with Leonard at the four. A lot of players will see their rotations change.
That said, it’s the Spurs. Do we really expect them to be anything but an incredibly good regular season team? One that is about to get better?
The injuries just keep hitting the Pelicans. Guys like Solomon Hill and Alexis Ajinca are out for extended periods of time. Anthony Davis has missed four of the team’s last six games and is questionable for Wednesday night due to a left adductor injury.
Now comes the news that reserve guard Tony Allen will be out three to four weeks due to a nondisplaced left proximal fibula fracture, the team announced Tuesday. This is the part of the bone near the ankle.
Allen has played a limited role for New Orleans off the bench this season, averaging 12.4 minutes a game, and averaging 4.7 points. His reputation is that of a defensive stopper, and when he is on the court this season the Pelicans’ defense has been 5.6 points per 100 possessions better. However, father time has started to catch up with him and he is not the defender he once was.
Expect the minutes to bump up for Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore with this injury, which is not a bad thing as they have played well (they were knocking down threes against the Rockets Monday like they were named Curry), plus Ian Clark could get a little more run.
Kawhi Leonard, enabled by the Spurs’ no-nonsense culture, is probably the NBA’s most boring superstar.
He’s widely recognized as the league’s best defender, and he has worked himself into an elite offensive threat. He has already won a Finals MVP, and regular-season MVP could eventually be in the cards.
But Leonard is notoriously reserved. For someone who has been on this stage for so long, we know little about him.
Except we now know he apparently likes karate.
Gonna chop y’all up. Look at all of us. Karate styyyle.
If “karate styyyle” doesn’t become Leonard’s catchphrase, I don’t even know what we’re doing.
Leonard will finally have the chance to chop up an NBA opponent tonight, when he makes his return from injury.
Michael C. Wright of ESPN:
Kevin Durant has become a villain to many.
Clearly not to this Warriors fan, though.