Derrick Williams will ‘never get used to’ not playing, but understands role with Miami Heat

Derrick Williams #22 of the Miami Heat defends against Paul Millsap #4 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 7, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Derrick Williams #22 of the Miami Heat defends against Paul Millsap #4 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 7, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

BOSTON — Derrick Williams is still getting used to his role with the Heat.

In fact, Williams doesn’t believe he will ever get used to it. He’s made 10 starts and has not played at all in 14 games per coach’s decision entering Friday’s game against the Celtics.

This inconsistent role is new to Williams. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft played in 74 or more games in each of the past four seasons.

“I’ll never get used to that – not playing,” Williams said Thursday of his role with the Heat. “But as of right now, you just got to deal with it. I’m an a lot better basketball player [playing] than not playing. I know that. I think guys on the team know that. But at the end of the day, it’s the coach’s decision on who he wants to play. I’ll never get used to not playing.”

Williams has played in 18 of Miami’s 33 games this season. So even if he played in every regular-season game moving forward, he would play in 67 games — his lowest total since the 2011-12 season when he played in 66 games for Minnesota as a rookie.

James Johnson and Luke Babbitt have been ahead of Williams in Erik Spoelstra’s power forward rotation for most of the season. Johnson has played in 29 games and Babbitt has played in 25 games this season

“This is my first year in my six [NBA seasons] that I’ve actually kind of been out of the rotation a little bit,” Williams said. “I’ve always played 20-25 minutes and things like that. It’s a little different adjustment just going which way coach wants to go. Whichever way it is, you got to live with it whether it’s me playing a lot or me not playing. It’s bigger than myself. This is about the Heat organization and us getting wins.”

The 25-year-old is averaging 6.8 points on 42.2 percent shooting and 2.8 rebounds in 16 minutes per game this season. Williams signed a one-year, $4.6 million contract with the Heat as a free agent this past summer, and he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

“I’m just waiting for my opportunity,” Williams said of his approach. “Whenever coach calls my number, calls my name, I’m ready. Whatever it might be, whether I’m starting, coming off the bench, playing three minutes, playing 30 minutes – I’ll be ready.”

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