With the number of new signings the Bulls are making this offseason, it could be easy to forget young Patrick Williams. However, Williams appears to be rising to the challenge of battling these stars for a place in the Bulls lineup, which is what you want to see from the talented young man.
Patrick Williams’ NBA Summer League debut went about as smoothly as the Chicago Bulls could have hoped for in the first half on Monday, and perhaps the basketball odds of him getting much game time next season won’t be as big as first thought. Williams appeared to be the most talented player on the floor. He pulled up for 3-pointers after grabbing rebounds and taking the ball upcourt. On the pick-and-roll, he read the defense, assisting his teammates or charging to the rim in search of a score. Finally, he went at the hoop with a ferocity that he lacked for most of his first season.
Williams looked like a guy too good to be true, even though he couldn’t carry that energy into the second half of the Bulls’ Summer League opener against the New Orleans Pelicans, losing 94-77. On the court, he appeared authoritative and physically imposing at moments, standing above the crowd like a veteran among newcomers – Williams said he felt more agile and has more core strength than last season.
Williams stated, “I put forth a lot of effort. All summer, our coaching staff and (player development) guys were locked in for me. We worked throughout the summer. It came naturally to me to make the movements and execute the things I did out there.” Even with their drastically revamped team, the Bulls will be banking on Williams to make a leap in his development, so such a remark is reassuring. Williams had 15 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists in the game. He went 6 for 13 from the field in the first half, but he struggled in the second half, going 0 for 7 from the field. According to Williams, the Pelicans made adjustments, but Bulls assistant Damian Cotter, who is coaching the Summer League club, recognized that weariness was an issue.
In the second half, the Pelicans threw many long bodies at Williams, and he appeared to be worn down and rattled. He isn’t used to carrying such a heavy offensive load, and it showed as he fought to break loose. That isn’t shocking, but as the headline player on this Summer League roster, he will have to acclimate to it.
However, it is the procedure that is important in this case. Williams’ level of attacking experimentation and decisiveness was notable, even though the results diminished as the game progressed. Williams will benefit from these on-ball reps, which he is most likely still adjusting to.
Many people were startled when the Chicago Bulls selected Florida State’s Patrick Williams with the No. 4 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The surprises continued when Billy Donovan, the Bulls’ head coach, chose Williams over Otto Porter Jr. to open the 2020-21 season. Williams went on to start every game in his rookie season, despite the fact that the lineup altered around him due to trades, benchings, and injuries. After a predictably rocky first NBA season, he didn’t always succeed and still has a lot of room to improve, but he welcomed the challenges thrown at him and is a breakout potential in Year 2. Whether he’s on the team or not, he’s a significant figure in the Bulls’ future.
Williams’ rookie numbers don’t appear to be particularly spectacular. In 27.9 minutes per game, he averaged 9.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. He shot 48.3% from the field and 39.1% from 3-point range while remaining somewhat consistent on both fronts throughout the season, albeit on a meager volume as the rookie was often too timid to look for his own offense. To increase his aggression and use, he’ll need to shift his thinking as well as the attention of Chicago’s coaching staff as they attempt to improve his game.
Donovan kept Williams in the starting lineup despite the Bulls being outscored by over seven points per 100 possessions in Williams’ roughly 2,000 minutes of activity. While he had flashes on both sides of the floor, his inexperience and hesitation on offense often harmed Chicago. While Williams wasn’t exclusively to blame for the Bulls’ sluggish starts this season, he did play a part in them.
Williams is expected to learn from his rookie mistakes and take a significant step forward sooner than later. He endured his lumps as one of the NBA’s youngest players, always going up against the league’s greatest names. The goal for the adolescent is to become a stopper who brings a versatile offensive package to the table, and he has received a lot of praise from the stars he tried and mostly failed to stop.
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