Derrick Williams traded to the Sacramento Kings for Luc Mbah a Moute

Derrick Williams traded to the Sacramento Kings for Luc Mbah a Moute

Derrick Williams

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ starters have logged more minutes than any other starting group in the NBA this season, in part because former No. 2 overall draft pick Derrick Williams couldn’t gain the trust of coach Rick Adelman.

Now Williams is gone.

New Wolves president Flip Saunders traded Williams to the Sacramento Kings for Luc Mbah a Moute in a deal that was completed Tuesday morning.

“Luc is known as one of the premier defensive players in the league with an ability to guard multiple positions,” Saunders said in a statement issued by the team. “He adds a lot of energy, grit and a high basketball IQ to our team. We thank Derrick for his contributions to our organization and wish him well in Sacramento.”

Williams became the highest draft pick in franchise history when the Wolves took him second in 2011. But his style of play didn’t mesh with Adelman’s system, and the impasse reached a breaking point early this season. Williams missed one game because of back spasms and did not play in four others as Adelman elected to go with Robbie Hummel and Dante Cunningham with the second unit instead.

Adelman wanted to see more energy from Williams on both ends of court. But Williams often said that he had difficulty getting into the flow of the game with such sporadic playing time. He bounced between small forward and power forward in two-plus years with the Wolves, averaging 10.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in 155 games.

 

Sacramento hopes Williams can bring some offensive punch to a team that could use more of it in the frontcourt alongside DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings have been searching for an answer at power forward after Carl Landry went out with a torn hip flexor in the preseason. They’ve used Jason Thompson and Patrick Patterson to varying degrees of success and see Williams as a player who may just need a change of scenery to realize his potential.

Williams is more comfortable playing power forward, which he showed when filling in for injured Kevin Love last season. But with Love back, and Cunningham earning Adelman’s trust as a veteran off the bench, there was little room for the 22-year-old Williams. He played less than 15 minutes per game this season, much of it in garbage time during blowouts.

The move will help the Wolves balance their roster, relieving a glut at power forward while addressing a weakness at small forward. The 6-foot-8 Mbah a Moute played alongside Love at UCLA and brings some toughness and defensive presence that the Wolves are sorely lacking.

With Chase Budinger still not close to playing while he recovers from knee surgery, the Wolves needed another body to help take some pressure off Corey Brewer as the team’s primary perimeter defender.

Adelman has told others in the organization that he likes Mbah a Moute’s game, an important endorsement if the Wolves were going to cut ties with Williams.

Mbah a Moute’s size will help the Wolves to match up better with some of the toughest covers in the West, including Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.

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Nicholas Norman is a founder and contributor at "DistinctAthlete.com." He is also the sports editor for long standing newspaper in Houston called "The Houston Forward Times." Nicholas had a love for sports at a young age growing up in South Carolina. He became one of the top football prospects coming out of high school and decided to play collegiate football at Troy University. You can follow Nicholas on twitter @nicholasanorman