2011 NBA Draft: Media Day, Part 2
Williams looked sharp in a crisp grey suit that reeked of confidence. He actually looked eager to be here, throwing on a semi-smirk upon noticing the anxious reporters surrounding his table.
The 6'9 forward has generated some buzz after declaring himself a 3 at the next level, triggering critics to whip out their "tweener" cards and doubt. Williams talked about what he'll be able to do next season in the pros. "Creating Mismatches. Being able to do multiple things on the offensive side, guarding different positions. I'm quicker than most people think, so just use that to my advantage."
The Timberwolves have been linked to trade rumors involving the second pick, most recently with the Lakers and Suns. When asked about it, Williams acknowledged the idea of a possible log jam in Minnesota, however remained unfazed by the potential conflict. "Because me and Mike Beasley play similar. On the advantage side of that, it will be hard to guard both of us."
He was also asked about the possibility of being selected first, and how he would handle the pressure of following LeBron. "I don't want be LeBron, I don't want to be anything like him. He's going to finish as one of the top 25 players of all time, but I'm not trying to be like him. I just want to get out there and play my game."
Williams clearly believes in himself, and sounded determined to silence his doubters. "I feel like I am the most overall ready", he said when referring to his rank in the class. He's a better fit for Utah at the 3rd pick, but his upside might be too high to pass on at 2 considering the abundance of low-ceiling prospects.
Maybe the most upbeat player in the room, Thompson has heard his name mentioned from the 4th pick up to the 16th. Seemingly immune to the negative energy associated with draft day slides, Thompson claimed "I'd rather slip and be in a better situation than get taken high and not be a contributor". Still, Thompson could go high and earn minutes, as he's a potential target for the Cavs at 4 or the Pistons at 8.
Due to his unpolished offensive game and being slightly undersized at the power forward position, it was necessary to ask what is most attractive NBA quality was. "My personality", he said with a grin. "That's just who I am. You have to blame my mother Andrea Thompson for that, she's just outgoing and a really lively person". Maybe not the greatest answer in terms of production, but there's reason to believe that he'll be an effective big at the next level.
Thompson's a strong athlete with good length to make up for that one extra inch he's missing to his height. If his ceiling is reached, a team should come away with a serviceable two-way forward.
We've seen Walker's name bounce from team to team like a pinball, rumored everywhere from Toronto at 5, Sacramento at 7, Detroit at 8 and Charlotte and 9.
Walker put a team on his back and plowed through the Big East this year, most noticeably in the conference tournament when he hit that picturesque buzzerbeater to sink Pittsburgh in the Championship game. Walker was asked about how the Big East prepared him for the next level. "Oh yea. Just playing against those guys, playing so well against those guys. I just feel like I have the upper edge".
He averaged over 23 points per game this season, which has brought up the question of whether or he's comfortable making plays for others. Walker has remained adamant about his ability to facilitate, and plans on erasing the notion that he's a shoot first player. "I'm definitely a true point guard- I'm just a point guard who can score".
Despite a good portion of the players having NCAA tournament success, this class has been tattooed with the "weak" label. "I really don't care what they say", Walker said. If it's weak, hopefully I should go higher. I think it's a great draft class. We may not have the LeBrons, D-Wades or Carmelos... But we haven't done anything yet. We definitely going into the league with a chip on our shoulders, looking to prove everyone wrong."