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Breaking down the Derrick Williams for Mbah a Moute trade: It’s as win-win as it gets

Nov 26, 2013, 12:16 PM EDT

Derrick Williams Getty Images

The first rule for a GM in “winning” a trade is to make the other GM think he’s winning it. Even if you think you’re fleecing him.

The swap sending Derrick Williams to Sacramento and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute to Minnesota — which has become official — would have been an easy sell for both GMs. Both these teams are in different places with different goals. The trade works for both teams because of that.

For some Timberwolves fans there’s an emotional part of this — Williams was the No. 2 pick, they drafted him on potential and in theory that potential is still there.

But Minnesota has moved on from “we’re a young team waiting for our potential to develop” into “we need to make the playoffs” mode. This trade fits with that — Minnesota gets a solid veteran they can count on off the bench to help them make the playoffs. Williams is not that.

Mbah a Moute gives the Rick Adelman a defensive specialist to turn to off the bench. Put him in a rotation with Chase Budinger and Ronny Turiaf once they get healthy, plus Dante Cunningham, and that’s a pretty good bench front line.

Williams got run last season as the Timberwolves power forward because Adelman was out of bodies — Kevin Love and Andrei Kirilenko missed a lot of time — but by the end of that season Adelman had made his decision and was done with Williams. Williams is a tweener really and he doesn’t create good shots for himself or defend well. Then two things happened that really signaled the end for Williams in Minny: 1) Flip Saunders came in as defacto as GM for David Kahn (who always defended his draft picks); 2) Robbie Hummel emerged as a solid option off the bench. Williams became expendable and has gotten just 14.7 minutes a game and shooting just 35.2 percent when he does get on the floor.

Consider this the “change of scenery” move for Williams, and occasionally those work out. Sacramento is still trying to develop its talent and is looking to the long term. Expect Williams to get run in Sacramento, but remember coach Mike Malone has options — John Salmons, Jason Thompson, Patrick Patterson and Travis Outlaw, plus eventually Carl Landry will return from injury and be better than any of them.

Williams has not been a good defender, if that continues he’s not going to get past those guys ahead of him on the forward list. But he’s going to get a chance to show off that athleticism and figure out how to fit it the Kings offense. He has his option for next season already picked up.

Williams gets a chance, Minny gets a defender.

Both sides get something they can use.

  1. mimaiheatdynasty - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Derrick Williams is a DTA guy…Defense, Threes(????), Athleticism.

    • iritian - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:35 PM

      That 13% 3fg percentage says otherwise. Not to mention his horrible matador defense.

      • mimaiheatdynasty - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:46 PM

        Thats what I meant, I just threw the DT part in there. Actually meant A.

  2. snitor - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    2011 Draft:

    2- Derrick Williams
    3- Enes Kanter
    4- Tristan Thompson
    5- Jonas Valanciunas
    6- Jan Vesely
    7- Bismack Biyombo

    Wow.. No one of that bunch developed into a difference maker..

    • legend30 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      I’ll take Jonas Valanciunas.

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:37 PM

      Valanciunas and Kanter still have the juries out on them. It’s still early, only their third year so some of these guys could develop more.

    • 5xchamp24 - Nov 26, 2013 at 2:13 PM

      you left out #8 Brandon Knight….sucks out loud.

    • spursareold - Nov 26, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      15- Kawhi Leonard

  3. legend30 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Anthony Bennett = Derrick Williams 2.0

    Been saying this since Cleveland drafted him with 1st pick.

  4. wlouden77 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Tristan Thompson averaged close to a double double last year (11points, 9reb) and is doing the same this year. Maybe nor a difference maker, there are very few of those, bit still very solid.

    • asimonetti88 - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      Thompson is a nice player. You’d hope for a difference maker with a top-5 draft pick, but like you said, there are very few of those, so sometimes you have to take what you can get and if Thompson can produce some quality minutes that’s good enough.

  5. imthedudedude - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    Yeah those draft picks don’t deserve a starting spot on any team. Bench players at best there

  6. norcaldeportes - Nov 26, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    And #9… Jimmer. Is he still in the league?

  7. norcaldeportes - Nov 26, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    *10th. Forgot about Kemba at #9… Are the bobcats still in the league?!

  8. onebigredrocket - Nov 26, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    If you’re looking for a trade partner, Sacramento is on the other line.

  9. tcclark - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    Win-win. The T-wolves get a great defender, and Mbah-a-moute doesn’t have to play for the Kings anymore. win-win

    • allday420ap - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      We all know Adelman loves a superior mind over a doofus

  10. jollyjoker2 - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    lose – lose – Both are lousy players and both GM’s know it.

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