Programming note: Pistons-Kings coverage starts Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet California (territorial restrictions apply) and streaming live right here.
Derrick Williams, the enigmatic second pick in the 2011 draft by Minnesota, worked out with the Kings coaching staff on skill development during the offseason. With additional focus on conditioning, he arrived in camp in excellent shape.
However, minutes were scarce early in the season and Williams had played only six minutes in six games prior to his 10-point contribution in a win versus the Bulls in which Kings coach Michael Malone said, “We don’t win that game without Derrick Williams.”
“I put in a lot of work this summer,” said Williams after Friday’s practice. “Early on, it’s a long season – it’s 82 games and the first ten games it didn’t go my way . . . all the extra work I put in before and after practice, it really shows.”
Since then, there have been lapses as Williams is splitting time with Omri Casspi. But there has also glimpses of explosive, instant offense off the bench from the former Arizona Wildcat – 18 points in 14 minutes against Toronto, 14 in 17 minutes versus Orlando and 17 minutes against Houston.
Williams has a reputation as being inconsistent, yet he brought it in select games last season – 31 points versus the Mavericks, 26 twice versus Houston and always coming to play against the Timberwolves, his former team.
“Staying ready no matter how many minutes I play,” commented Williams. “I’m just here to play basketball.”
As the Kings second unit has struggled this season and in the absence of DeMarcus Cousins, can the Kings count on Williams for consistent production?
Only time will tell.