Last season Derrick Williams had a very strange looking shot chart. We've already heard about the amazing discrepancy from the left side when he's at the rim. Now let's take a look at a shot that could unblock some congested arteries, as well as some of the playmaking that has kept Derrick flowing and feeling good. First, why don't you have a look-see at his shot zones from last season?
Despite the glaring ruby swaths of court he should have avoided, Daring Derringer Derrick kept on sniping at a high rate from those Mount Etna sized craters of non-productivity. Sacramento obviously had their struggles last season, and "The D" was never counted on as the guy to help them bust it open for a deep push. In an effort not to play the blame game, one might simply assume -- with a low block behemoth like Demarcus Cousins in tow -- those are the type of looks most cleanly generated by the Kings' offense.
While poring over a smattering of Sacramento-era highlight reels, I noticed that all Williams did was engulf defenders in his wrecking ball lunges to the rim and splay them out mid-air for a few minutes, then there would be a seemingly random corner three or deep shot off the catch.
Conversely, while poring over every solitary millisecond of his pre-season Knicks moments, I've noticed some stuff that "The D" may have carried over from Sactown. Hopefully that bad crap stays put and transfers onto someone else. Dodgy defensive instincts might continue to be a nightly conundrum. But cranky old George Karl might not know how to cull the best performances from "The D". To wit, maybe that and his time in Sacramento clearly drawing to a close left him feeling disengaged.
The first thing I started to notice in New York is how Derrick beats teams to the baseline in transition. That has allowed some nifty highlights, but it's the worry over his dunky junk that has given him access to a bigger repertoire. The thing that has surprised me most is Williams hitting a lot of straight-on jump shots from the free throw line area to beyond the three. One way he's been getting good looks is by picking and popping out high while the ball handler does his best to draw icy defenders.
Here on the first play against the Wizards, Williams sheds his Jorts by juking baseline and winds his way around for an easy catch and shoot. He does it again to Kelly Oubre at about 1:40 (insert Cle offensive lineman joke here, or don't, because you don't know any).
In case you're worried that all "The D" does is score, he has been using a similar situation to be his teammate's wing man.
My favorite part is in the second play you can see and hear Sasha Vujacic point out how oafish and out of place Spencer Hawes is. Lou Amundson and "The D" just use the synergy a cohesive offense can erect. Of course, Williams hasn't strictly beaten teams down the floor for shakedowns at the cup or those little kick flips around the paint, nor is he racking up crazy assist numbers. When Derrick isn't outrunning defenders, he's been helping close out possessions, then pushing it up the floor himself, further ingratiating himself into the flow of the offense and putting his stamp on the game.
In the secondary break Derrick's been able to slide in with drag screens and punch home some triples. The Knicks have been aggressively pushing the ball on made shots this preseason, and thats where we'll find those drag screens.
Here against Philadelphia, check in at about 0:48...
You also see him get a clean look at around 2:30 when he flashes high once Cleanthony Early is unable to enter the ball for the Triangle nor swing it to initiate a 2-man game. Either way, Derrick is looking for the same shot. Now lets go to the Boston game and check out the same basic structure on offense. This time the ball gets to Derrick on the right block (where he finishes so poorly) at 0:17.
Wet. Then a minute later, in a bungled 2-man game with Langston Galloway, he pops way out and completely loses Jordan Mickey for some reason. Not entirely straight on, but "The D" has been on fire and he bangs it. Let's take a look at how that play should work out, if played correctly.
The Triangle has been good to "The D", whether he's on the box or streaking down the lane. He has immense force going to the hole and that has helped double his free throw attempts. As a 70% career foul shooter, it certainly won't hurt if he gets there often. Add in some nice baseline and corner percentages and his unselfishness with the ball in his hands, and you have a real nice compliment for anyone on the roster.