“Derrick Williams is a player with a lot of love for the game” Feldhaus breaks down Maccabi’s new signing

Jun 30, 2021 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv signed Derrick Williams to a contract for the upcoming season. The 30-year old has played the last 3 seasons with Euroleague teams and will now bring his energy and excitement to Israel.

Williams, who began his career with the Timberwolves after being selected second overall in the 2011 NBA Draft played three seasons with Minnesota and then plied his trade with the Sacramento Kings where he was a teammate of Israeli star Omri Casspi who he now joins in Tel Aviv.

Derrick Williams – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

The California native also played for the New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers and spent part of the 2017/18 season in China with the Tianjin Gold Lions. The 2018/19 campaign saw Williams head to Germany where he signed with Bayern Munich which was followed by a season a piece with Fenerbahce and Valencia where he scored 9 points per game.

Williams spoke to the Maccabi Tel Aviv website about joining the Yellow & Blue, “Shalom! I am so excited to join Maccabi Tel Aviv and to be a part of this incredible organization. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the passionate fans in Tel Aviv and helping the team compete for Israeli and EuroLeague championships. Let’s get to work.”

Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos also talked about his new signing, “We are very happy to have Derrick Williams with us because he will give us a lot of power in the forward position. We are very pleased that we have signed another quality player, a player who knows the Euroleague and will fight with us to achieve our goals. Welcome to the Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv family, Derrick.”

Lukas Feldhaus, The Sports Rabbi’s European Expert based in Germany offered his instant reaction to the signing:

“Derrick Williams is a versatile offensive player who can affect a game in different ways without exceling in one play type. His biggest quality might be running and finishing in transition and after cuts. He is a very explosive finisher who has improved his percentages from 2-pt land in each Euroleague season (from 54 2P% in 2018-2019 to 66 2P% in 2020-2021). In addition, he has also improved in terms of his assist/turnover ratio, which shows that he has evolved in terms of finding his spots.

“He can also go to the low post, where he likes to spin to the left side. Moreover, he can also shoot 3s on a decent but very inconsistent level and attack close-outs on occasions and can play pick & roll alongside a stretch big man. The main problem about his offensive game is that he does not excel in any play type, which makes him a player whose performance has gone pretty much up and down. He can give you 20 points in one game and 2 points in the next one. He is not the typical role player who spots up for 3s on a consistent basis. His post game is solid, but he struggles to make plays for others if opponents’ defense scrambles. He is more of a rhythm player.

Derrick Williams – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“The main weakness about his game is his defense. His off-ball reaction is sometimes too late and he often lacks timing on rotations and for boxing out. His rebounding on both ends of the floor has been below average. Moreover he’s never been a rim protector. Shot blocks do not automatically translate into good defense, however averaging 0.1 blocks per game in 2020-2021 is very underwhelming for a player with the outstanding athleticism he has. He actually has the lateral quickness to switch on guards, which can be helpful for Ioannis Sfairopoulos’ system. He has, however, not proven that he can lift teams’ defense. I think that he could be a very efficient pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop 5 man if there were not the deficits in rim protection rebounding and partly physicality on defense.

“I am sure Williams will have very good performances on the offensive end and will probably spend most of his minutes at the 4 position. There he can take advantage of mismatches inside and contribute in several ways. Moreover he is known for being a great teammate and a player with a lot of love for the game. However, there can be doubts when it comes to his ability to provide consistency and especially defense. Maccabi now has three big men in Williams, Ante Zizic and Jalen Reynolds who are not known for solid defense. Maccabi could lack mobility and quality when it comes to defense on their frontcourt. That could be particularly problematic for the system of Ioannis Sfairopoulos, who likes to play switching defense.

Derrick Williams – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Williams played two seasons in college with the Arizona Wildcats where he scored 19.5 points and pulled down 8.3 boards in the 2011 season where he was chosen as the PAC-10 Player of the Year while helping the team advance all the way to the Regional Finals of the 2010/11 NCAA Tournament. After becoming the 2nd pick overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, Williams played for a total of six NBA franchises and checked in with a career average of 8.9 points and 4 rebounds in 428 career regular season games. His only appearance in the playoffs was with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2016/17 campaign.

During his three years in Europe two date, Williams won the 2019 German League Championships with Bayern Munich as well as the 2020 Turkish Cup with Fenerbahce.

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