Chicago Bulls: Patrick Williams needs to be more aggressive on offense in Game 3

Coby White, Patrick Williams, Bulls Rumors. Mandatory Credit: Nick Monroe/Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Coby White, Patrick Williams, Bulls Rumors. Mandatory Credit: Nick Monroe/Handout Photo-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bulls stole home-court advantage in their first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2 after narrowly losing Game 1. A key difference in both games was the aggressiveness of Patrick Williams.

There were plenty of reasons why the Bulls didn’t pull out Game 1, with the biggest being the star offensive players’ poor shooting. Some of the issues with the stars stemmed from the Bucks blitzing them on their drives. Coby White was briefly able to punish the Bucks when they trapped Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine. Alex Caruso wasn’t able to consistently hit shots, but taking those shots allowed for Vucevic to get some offensive rebounds.

Williams was the other player on the floor in crunch time. Instead of pulling the trigger on his threes when left open, he passed up shot after shot. This allowed the Bucks to stick with their blitzes without having to worry about hard rotations.

In Game 2, he was aggressive when receiving the Ball on close-outs, making key buckets in the second half.

What was the difference between Game 1 and Game 2 for Patrick Williams?

The Bucks were one of the first teams to break out the “Bulls Blueprint,” which relies on the the defensive guards baiting DeRozan or LaVine into traps on their drives, forcing them to make last-second kick-outs. When this happens, the player who gets the ball on the kick-out is generally wide open. To force the Bucks out of this game plan, the player who gets the ball on the kick out either needs to shoot the ball or attack the basket.

Either option will force the defense to shift, exploiting the holes and wearing them down. The latter result will affect the Bucks on both sides of the ball and can get Giannis Antetokounmpo in foul trouble.

In Game 1, Williams didn’t do either. Instead, he would catch and hold the ball, waiting for someone else to get open. That type of action lets the Bucks play four on five. Milwaukee already has the better roster on paper. They don’t need any other advantages thrown their way.

Granted, Williams is a great asset on the defensive end. But if he can’t be a threat on the floor at all offensively, his defensive abilities are practically null and void.

In Game 2, he was as aggressive as a coach would want their role player to be. He had 10 points on 55% shooting. When he got the ball on kick-outs, he either shot it or drove. Both options forced the Bucks defense to continue in the scramble, exploiting their poor rotations. He took nine shots in the contest, connecting on five of them. Seven of the eight shots were wide open while the other two were layups. When he didn’t score, he was able to find players on secondary kick-outs.

An aggressive Williams forces the Bucks to either be perfect on scrambles or trap the Bulls’ stars less. The first option is nearly impossible, making Milwaukee likely settle for the second option. If that’s the case, he will have perfectly done his job as a role player.

If he doesn’t put for this kind of play the rest of the series, the Bucks will continue to give their stars a hard time. In that case, the Bucks will probably take back home-court advantage faster than you think.

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