The Minnesota Timberwolves have assigned assistant coach Shawn Respert to work with Derrick Williams every day after practice, both in the film room and on the court.
"The young man, you can tell there's so much upside," Respert said. "This is why the scouts looked at him as a No. 2 pick.
"Also, he can easily be historically a lot of the No. 2s that have come in the league if he's not careful. If he doesn't stay sharp and work like he's been working, he can easily fall back into the mix of a guy that struggles in this league. He doesn't have a true identity right now. We're working on what it is that he can contribute every single night to help a team win."
Respert sees mental toughness as the primary obstacle getting in the way of Williams’ development.
"The whole mental part, he's right about that," Williams said. "Just being low and last year not knowing what to expect, it was tough. Just working with him after practice and keeping my confidence up, he's been right there with me since then."
Respert complimented Williams’ improved work ethic.
"The biggest improvement I've seen is I like the fact that he's had some ownership now in his own development," Respert said. "We don't have to go searching for him like we used to. Now I see him searching for us."