Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats great Williams released by Heat; headed to Cavs with Frye, Jefferson?


Former Arizona Wildcats standout Derrick Williams was released Monday by the Miami Heat, his fourth team in six seasons in the NBA, but his career is not over yet.

Rumors are circulating that Washington is interested in him. Cleveland media types are suggesting he would be a good fit with LeBron James and the Cavaliers, who already have two former Wildcats — Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson.

According to Basketball-Reference.com, Williams has earned approximately $30.2 million in his NBA career, including $4.6 million this season with his one-year contract with the Heat.

As the No. 2 pick overall in the 2011 NBA draft, Williams has endured difficulty finding his niche as a “tweener”, as scouts call them, between playing power forward and the wing. He is more of a finesse player than a burly rebounding power forward at 6’8″ and 240, and the knock on him as a wing has been his questionable ball-handling skills and ability to create a shot off the dribble or make the pass in addition to his inadequate 3-point shooting.

He has made 29.3 percent of his 3-point shots and averaged only 4.1 rebounds and 0.7 assists in his career.

Perhaps he needs a winning situation to get more out of his skills. He has played for Minnesota, Sacramento, New York and Miami in his career, none of them playoff teams.

Cleveland can offer him that opportunity and jump start his career similar to what Frye and Jefferson have experienced there. If he joins the Cavs that would mean the top two picks of the 2011 NBA draft would be on the roster — No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving and Williams.

Williams had his best game at Arizona against Irving and Duke in a 2011 Sweet 16 game in which Williams had 32 points and 13 rebounds.

The Washington Wizards are also winning right now with a 30-21 record.

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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