1 Regular Season goal for each Chicago Bulls core player

Coby White, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Coby White, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /
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Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls
Patrick Williams (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

5) Goal for each Chicago Bulls core player

Patrick Williams: Flourish

The newest member of See Red Nation comes with strong ties within the building already. Patrick Williams grew up competing with and against White in their home state of North Carolina. Williams says the two spoke every other day after he declared for the draft. The two are so close that it was White featured on a video welcoming Williams to the city.

Many fans, present company included, were less than thrilled by the selection. With Chicago drafting higher than it has since taking Derrick Rose in 2008, the sentiment was to either be bold and trade up or trade down because they were just out of range for the top-end prospects.

All he’s done since is average 11.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in the preseason with two starts. He’d join Markkanen as the just the second Bulls rookie since Luol Deng with those numbers if they hold.

Williams is fifth in minutes among rookies and sixth in points. He’s shooting 48.6 percent from the floor and 42.9 from three.  He’d be the first Bulls rookie since Scott Williams in 1991 to hit those marks should they remain during the regular season.

Even if they don’t though, Williams has been impressive with his style of play and calm demeanor. He doesn’t move like a rookie and hasn’t tried to play outside of his strengths.

What makes that assessment interesting is there isn’t much he can’t do on the floor.

Leonard Hamilton, Williams’ college coach, talked up his former player in response to those who were concerned Williams hadn’t started a game in college. He simple said he may not have started games, but he finished them.

With the amount of blown leads and shaky play down the stretch of several games last season, a player with certified closing ability is a welcome sight.

We also heard plenty about his defense and he’s shown it to be true so far.

Again, it’s just three preseason games, but he’s posting a 92.4 defensive rating. That’s good for 10th among rookies who average at least 10 minutes per game. He’d be the first Chicago rookie to do that since Bulls legend Matt Steigenga in ’96.

Williams, by all accounts, has a chance to be a really special player. Not only because of his mature, diverse two-way skill set. But also because he’s only 19. At such a young age the Bulls have to be careful not to overload the youngsters plate. But that could prove to be a challenge as he has proven to be more capable than most.

The coaching staff’s decision to start him over Porter for the last two preseason games is telling. Of course it signals they view Williams as key to the future success of the team. But it also signifies they might think he’s ready to contribute right away.

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It’ll be up to his coach to get the most out of him but if everyone else holds up their ends of the bargain, he’ll be in good hands.