The case for Derrick Williams in Cleveland

I'm really intrigued by the opportunity, however real it may be, to add Andy Varejao to the Wolves. I think a three headed center/big rotation of Love, Pek, and Andy V would be spectacular, especially against boing boing teams like Denver. Love had a lot of trouble handling McGee, Faried, and their other energy guys and this puts Adelman in a difficult position because now he has to play Pek all the time. It's OK for a game or two, but a potential 7 game series? We need more options, and Andy V's defense, rebounding, and attitude would be terrific for us off the bench in place of Steemer.

The big question around CH is why would Cleveland trade him? To find out I started poking around various Cavs fan forums as well as Fear The Sword and was surprised at what I discovered. None of this truth, of course, but I think CH represents a pretty good 'pulse' snapshot of the state of the team and valuations of players (generally speaking), so I'm willing to accept the risk of being wrong and say that using these fan sites is an OK place to start at when it comes to what the Cavs need/want, and how much they think it's going to cost them.

If you only read to this point in this article, here is the short takeaway - Andy V. is not only available, but I believe he is gettable based on what we already have (Derrick Williams + Steemer + parts).

If you're into reading further, here's what I found interesting. Cleveland for the long term is built around Kyrie Irving (PG), Dion Waiters (SG), Alonzo Gee/spare parts (SF), Tristan Thompson (PF), and Tyler Zeller ( C). The people that they are high on are Kyrie (yes please), Waiters (solid potential), and Thompson (frustrating). Now I'm not going to BS all of you and suggest that I really understand their roster, because I don't, but looking at these pieces and some of what they're talking about a certain narrative arose:

You have this terrific point guard in Kyrie who can score, break down the defense, and dish. He can shoot the three, finish at the rim, draw free throws. This guy is a stud and is, to shorthand it, the Chris Paul of their team. And what does every 'Chris Paul' type guy need? An inside presence. Andy V is not in the long term plans, ergo Tristan Thompson - come on down!!! Except, Tristan has offensive issues.

From WitMi:

"With Tristan, it’s less about his PPG and more about his usage and what he does with those possessions. Currently, I cringe every time he touches the ball assuming someone horrible is about to happen. He needs at least 2 post moves. He needs to learn how to palm the ball and dunk with one hand. He needs to stop gathering and just launch on dunks. He needs to learn how to use the rim to shield the defender. He needs to discover that the square behind the basket is in fact, a backboard, and not a Canadian stop sign.

If Tristan can average 15-16 per 36, and be able to help the offense, then yes that would be good enough to get back into the starting lineup. He needs to bring SOMETHING to the offense.

The Cavs do not have a player that can work inside-out with and I feel that really hurts the offense. Tristan cannot move backwards 5 feet and consistently draw iron, I feel that also hurts the offense."

Now they are thinking that Paul Milsap would be a good get, and this is true. I'm just not as convinced that they have anything Utah would be interested in. Be that as it may, the above comment is pretty reflective of how they feel about Tristan Thompson - good defender, poor scorer.

I was a little skeptical of Thompson as a good defender, as Bball-Ref's Drtg for him is pretty bad (but that whole team is bad). 82games is much higher on TT - the Cavs are 11.6 points per 48 worse on defense when TT is off the floor! That's twice the effect Rubio had on us last year, and even better than Varejao.

Anyways, IF Derrick Williams has any offensive talent at all, and I believe he does, it makes a whole lot of sense to me that the Cavs would be a good fit for him. He has some shooting range, he can rebound, his defense has improved, we know he can throw down oops' from good PG's. He's not particularly great yet, but he's better than TT and could become much better with a more open system and better defined role. He could be the David West to Kyrie's CP3 (that two point shooting percentage needs to go up, but hopefully playing with Kyrie as a main option would help that. Otherwise their numbers are very much in the same neighborhood), AND the Cavs could still pair him with TT in a slightly undersized but very active and athletic front court (kinda like pairing Love with DC).

This isn't about ideal 5 man rotations - if that were the case Cleveland wouldn't be getting rid of Andy V. This is about getting the best talent you can out on the floor and figuring out the weakspots later. Derrick Williams could defend the smaller, more agile 'centers' these days. Or TT could. Look at Denver - they start Koufos! A lot of teams essentially play PF's as centers, and with Derrick's newfound defensive ability to be average (well, at least according to 82games he does a really good job at holding his opponent to poor numbers), I think the roll of the dice for Cleveland on Derrick's offensive ability with Kyrie could be very compelling - enough to accept a deal built primarily on Derrick for Andy V.

Here's the last piece I'll toss out there - it's last year's +/- numbers of Derrick with Ricky and one other player - thought it was pretty interesting. Derrick-Ricky-Tolliver was +44. Derrick-Ricky-Ellington was +26. It's not conclusive proof, but it's suggestive that IF you wanted to go along a path that emphasized Williams' offensive abilities, pairing him with a guy like Ricky (or Kyrie) is the way to start, playing him at PF is a must, and surrounding him with another quality big is fine (especially if that big is better at defending and putbacks).

So to conclude this far too long post, Cleveland would be banking on DW actually being better than he's shown thus far, but a lot of their fans are skeptical that we'd part with him in order to get Andy V. I think Derrick needs to play, he needs to play PF (which he would in Cleveland), he needs to have the green light to score (which he would at Cleveland), and only after those things happen (playing PF and getting the opportunity to score more and figure out how he's going to get his buckets in the Association) are any of us going to know exactly what Derrick can and cannot be.

You have to admit that a team of Kyrie/Waiters/Gee/Williams/Thompson could be a hella lotta fun to watch. I don't particularly like the idea of parting with either Luke or Barea, because we need all the backcourt scoring we can get (and especially Luke's shooting), but here's a potential deal that could work:

Cavs get Williams, Luke, and Steemer (for center depth)

Wolves get Andy V. and Omri Casspi (SF depth and three point shooting)

What also works is Williams and Steemer for Andy V. straight up.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Canis Hoopus

You must be a member of Canis Hoopus to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Canis Hoopus. You should read them.

Join Canis Hoopus

You must be a member of Canis Hoopus to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Canis Hoopus. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.