Thu May 19 06:35pm EDT
This year's draft is universally considered to be the worst in several years, if not a whole decade. There are two players with potential star appeal, though: Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and Arizona forward Derrick Williams. Irving is generally thought be the top pick, but several teams like Williams' combination of power forward strength and shooting ability.
After the Cleveland Cavaliers won the lottery, Irving immediately distanced himself from LeBron James, saying that he's a different kind of player. Williams, though, was not quite so shy. From Greg Esposito of ArizonaSports.com (via PBT):
"I think I'm the No. 1 pick because I have more star quality I would think," the small forward said. "I'm just a bigger person. Just trying to fill in for a big star like LeBron like they're missing. That missing piece. I think that's me."
Williams is unlikely to actually be picked by the Cavs, so he can afford to posture in a way that Irving can't. If Irving goes to Cleveland and proves to be something less than a star, then any comparisons to LeBron on his part would end up looking foolish. The same would go for Williams, but it'd be less of an issue with a franchise like Minnesota or Utah. For him, it's an act of self-promotion, not a move that will set himself up for failure even if he ends up being a pretty good player.
The public instinct in a case like this is usually to get on a player for being arrogant, but Williams is really proving that he understands his context as a prospect. Humility is important when a player already has a team. Prospects can afford to be a little selfish.