Chicago Bulls rookie forward Patrick Williams turned 19 just weeks after the July 30, 2020 NBA restart, after sports all around the world were canceled due the global pandemic caused by the now infamous novel coronavirus.
After a solid freshman year outing, he ended his lone season as the ACC sixth man of the year, playing small forward for the Florida State Seminoles.
Not many Bulls fans were very familiar with Williams, before being selected No.4 overall by new VP Arturas Karnisovas, GM Marc Eversley and head coach Billy Donavon.
I remember scratching my head a little in confusion. I felt the Bulls needed to address other needs, more importantly I was very uneducated when it came to the small forward.
I immediately started pacing back and forth, in frustration when the Bulls pick was announced by Commissioner Adan Silver from ESPN Headquarters.
I did not know who the heck this kid was, all I am thinking is, why didn’t we draft a solid wing or point guard to help with the poor offense and lack of outside shooting the team displayed in the past two seasons?
I eventually settled down and finally sat myself down and began doing my research on this 19-year-old kid that my team picked out of the blue. I instantly noticed some things; Williams was 6-foot-8 and had bulk on top of his size for a kid his age.
He was averaging the fourth most minutes on his team. Then I find out he is not even a starter and he was only averaging 9.2 points,4.0 rebounds and 1.0 assist.
He was a North Carolina kid who grew up playing a lot of basketball with our lottery pick from the year before. Coby White and Williams were very familiar with each other.
They grew up as all high school players, they played with and against one another during that time. Williams leaned on Coby during the pre-draft process.
As my research continued, I instantly started to dig this talented kid, I was convinced we had our next star. Williams started his freshman season playing only 12 minutes per game. As the season went on, he started to develop into a solid defender who had explosive athleticism.
This kid could defend multiple positions. He was forth on the team in minutes because he took advantage of his opportunity.
Williams ended his only season at FSU, playing an average of 30 minutes per game. By working hard and staying focused and ready every day those 12 minutes afforded him more opportunities.
His progression and impact on the floor, was what lead to his sixth man of the year award. “I started with 12 minutes, and I think you see that I did well with that 12 minutes” Williams said.
It is that type of thinking why I think he will grow and develop into the next Kawhi Leonard type player in the NBA.
Williams size and athleticism are rare, his basketball IQ stands out, not to mention his work ethic! These are those stats that you do not see on paper, but they are eye-popping when you watch him play.
Williams’ impact on the Chicago Bulls defense
He has fared well against top talent in the league. Even LeBron James lauded this young rookie after a matchup earlier in the season.
After the game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Feb. 12 Williams did not shy away from admitting Kawhi got the best of him. He even admitted that he looks up to him, most importantly that he hopes to be as good as him one day.
Williams did not have his best game that night, but against a top three player in the NBA at 19, he had a few plays that give us just a glimpse of his potential.
Kawhi had positive words about the first-year player after the game. Williams mentioned he told him that he liked what he had seen and for him to keep working.
That is amazing that the games two best players in the league see potential in him, most importantly the Bulls front office and coach Donavon saw what I did not see going into the draft.
The maturity this young man has shown early on is a breath of fresh air. When Williams says things like “you’ve just got to take it for what it is” it is a sign of his evolution. Williams also said, “I’m thrown into the fire”, these are signs of his intelligence.
Williams gets it. Add in that he has mirrored his game after Kawhi, we have an upcoming 19-year-old future all-star small forward in our grasps. Its remarkable that our new front office spotted this young, gifted player.
I want you guys to note that Kawhi did not enter the league as the dominant force he is today. Yes, even Kawhi had to develop, not to mention he was groomed by one of the NBA’s greatest coaches of all time in Gregg Popovich.
Practice makes perfect. When looking at Williams patience will need to be a virtue by fans, his potential cannot be overlooked. Another Bulls player will soon be on the rise.
Let us see how our young rookie will fare against an Indiana Pacers team featuring Domantas Sabonis, on Feb. 15 another star power forward in the league. It is not always the results he hopes for, but Williams will be up for the challenge. Baby steps until you take that giant leap.
P-Dub nation will be on full display. After a tough outing against the Kawhi-led Clippers, Bulls fans will be paying close attention as he battles another top dawg, hopefully Williams and this Bulls team come out on the winning end.