Three previous coaches on his two NBA teams have tried to figure out how to get the best out of physically gifted forward Derrick Williams.
Williams showed off the ability that has teased past coaches in Sunday’s loss to Portland, sparking the Kings in the fourth quarter with 13 of his 18 points.
Getting that kind of production regularly from Williams is the challenge new Kings coach George Karl faces.
“Derrick is one of our more skilled players, and we’re trying to figure out how he fits with the team,” Karl said. “I thought that he and Andre Miller had chemistry together (Sunday). As a coaching staff, we feel that we should try and get more out of him, and more consistent value.”
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Williams scored a total of 26 points in his previous four games before his outburst against Portland. He believes Karl’s system can help him elevate his game the rest of the season.
“I know (Karl) wants to play fast, depending on the matchups and things like that,” Williams said. “Most of the time when I’m playing (power forward), I’m quicker than guys at (that position). Just trying to get into transition, try to get easy baskets, things like that.”
Karl believes a faster pace is more effective, provided players make the right decisions with the ball.
Williams got going Sunday because the Kings ran and found him for dunks. That’s what Williams likes.
“I pride myself on bringing excitement, bringing energy to the crowd,” Williams said. “I think that’s one of the main things I try do out there. I think every guy likes dunks, so that’s just part of the game. That’s one of my best parts of the game, getting up and down the court in transition.”
It’s been an erratic season for Williams. He was out of the rotation early in the season behind Omri Casspi.
He has had flashes of good play and has been used as a starter at times, but there have also been stretches when Williams did not play.
But Williams, the second overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft, has a chance to impress Karl and the Kings as he heads into free agency. The Kings have injuries that have altered the lineup, and Williams has an opportunity to show he can put together several solid games.
“Without DeMarcus Cousins and Darren Collison (because of injuries), you have to figure out how to cover those holes and find out who is going to be responsible for what,” Karl said. “At moments, I think we did a good job, but then there were moments when I think that I didn’t do a good job.”
Williams said Karl’s system requires more of players.
“Sometimes we’ve got to run a little bit extra to get transition buckets, layups,” Williams said. “That’s what we’ve been trying to do and trying to mix it up a little bit, too.”
Karl believes running makes the game simpler. Williams agrees, adding that it makes playing more enjoyable.
“We play really fast, so it’s only one mind frame and one speed, and that’s fast,” Williams said. “When we’re out there running, playing and having fun, I think we’re at our best.”