Just a few days before the end of the pre-season, FC Bayern Munich announced the signing of forward Derrick Williams, who agreed to a one-year deal with the German powerhouse. Williams (2.03 meters, 27 years old) arrived from the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA, which was his last team on a 10-day contract last season. He also played for Tianjin Gold Lions last season, averaging 20 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 15 Chinese League games. Williams played in the NBA for the biggest part of his professional basketball career, in Minnesota, Sacramento, New York, Miami, Cleveland and the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 8.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 428 regular season career games.
The second pick in the 2011 NBA draft, wants to re-start his career in the Old Continent and -so far- his Euroleague debut is combined with impressive numbers: 14.2 points with 40.3% from behind the arc, 3.9 rebounds, 1.4 steals and a Perfomance Index Rating of 14.8. Williams spoke to TalkBasket.net about Bayern’s loss to Panathinaikos OPAP (77-67), LeBron James and the latest signings of the Greens on and off the court.
Q: Panathinaikos were up by 10 points through the entire game and it seemed that you couldn’t get into it. Wha do you think?
A: The first quarter made a big difference. They jumped out on us, the score was 22 -11 and the deficit remained almost the same in 70% of the game. However, we fought. Every time they went up by 10-12 points, we brougt it right back to 6-8. That’s what you have to do in this league: continue to fight and hopefully get some stops and shoot the ball well. But tonight we shot 7 for 31 from three and any time we shoot like that on the road, its is very difficult to get a win.
Q: How are you feeling in the Euroleague?
A: I’m feeling good. We should have won tonight, but at the end of the day we’re sitting in a good spot. We just want to keep playing well and hard. We have a good Milan team coming in on Friday. Hopefully, we get our shooting woes out of the way and knock some more shots in the next game.
Q: Bayern Munich seems like a Serbian territory this year, with coach Radonic and also Jovic, Dangubic, Lucic as players. What’s your role on the team?
A: They’re awesome, man! I never had a Serbian coach in my career, but I had Darko Milicic and Nikola Pekovic as teammates in the NBA. I love the intensity that they bring. Everything is going well.
Q: Two years ago, LeBron James publicly vouched for you to receive a second 10-day contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. What was the resonance of his statement to you?
A: Whenever you have a player, who in my eyes is the greatest to have ever played the game, vouch for you, it gives you a lot of confidence and that’s exactly what it gave me. I think I was really playing well at the time. I always have the utmost respect for him. Whenever a guy like that vouches for you, it’s one of the things you will always remember.
Q: I’d like your comment on Rick Pitino who was recently hired by Panathinaikos and also Sean Kilparick who’s joining them on Friday.
A: I think that it’s a good thing that Kilpatrick didn’t play against us. He’s a really good player and I know him pretty well. Pitino is an excellent coach, a Hall-of-Fame coach that is going to get his guys right. I wish we didn’t have to face him, but it’s all good.