Lost in the reactions to the Chicago Bulls rollercoaster of a season thus far, it’s been easy to miss the big leaps Patrick Williams has quietly made as the year progresses. The Bulls’ big wins over the NBA’s elite teams and horrible losses against the league’s bottom-feeders have made it difficult to assess Chicago’s talent accurately, but it’s becoming increasingly easy to jump back on The Paw’s hype train as of late.
If you glance at Pat’s box score statistics this season, I could forgive you if you weren’t all that impressed. After all, averages of 9.8 points, 4 rebounds, and 0.9 assists per game don’t exactly scream “All-Star” numbers. That being said, I think we should focus less on the results yielded by the niche role the Bulls ask Williams to fill, and more on the statistical improvement in the areas Pat specializes in.
For example, Williams has dramatically increased his career-high in attempts from the three-point line at 3 per game while maintaining an excellent shooting clip of 45.6%. On top of that, he’s locked in and committed to becoming Chicago’s best defender at the forward positions, achieving career highs in blocks per game, defensive box plus/minus, and defensive win shares.
Considering Chicago has built their core around a trio of offensively-oriented stars, having true 3-and-D talent is essential to making this team become a genuine contender. Until now, this was a significant weakness of the roster. However, Williams’ rapid development has given the team enough cause to be hopeful he can not only maintain, but continue improving on his complementary skill set.
Although he got off to a slow start to his junior season with the Chicago Bulls, Patrick Williams is proving he’s on the right track and steadily improving.
Watching the games, it’s easy to see just how much better Williams looks out there on the court. He appears more fluid in his offensive motions than he ever did as a rookie, has readily accepted and lived up to the toughest defensive assignments, and even appears to have finally gained that confidence he sorely lacked throughout his rookie and sophomore campaigns.
But don’t just take my word for it, the numbers support my claims as well.
- Williams (October): 7.1 PTS, 2.0 REB, 0.4 BLK, 42.9 FG%, 35.3 3P%, 88.9 FT%
- Williams (November): 11.3 PTS, 5.2 REB, 1.4 BLK, 51.0 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 93.3 FT%
If that wasn’t enough evidence, I think it’s important to note that Williams appears to be trending up, not fizzling out after a hot start. Here’s how Williams’ last six games stack up to the statistics above.
- Williams (Last 6 Games): 11.8 PTS, 4.7 REB, 1.0 BLK, 58.5 FG%, 65.0 3P%, 90.9 FT%
Although Pat’s raw box score production hasn’t dramatically increased, what’s particularly striking here is that he’s achieving unbelievable levels of efficiency. In these last six games, Pat has attained an absolutely ridiculous 77.4% true shooting percentage. To put that into perspective, Stephen Curry’s personal season-best true shooting clip is 67.5% That means Williams is currently shooting just shy of 10 whole percentage points than Curry at his absolute best.
Obviously, six games is an extremely limited sample size and there is no way Pat can possibly maintain this unreal level of production. But if he can continue to give the Bulls even 75% of his current output, the Chicago Bulls will be all the more dangerous for it.
Although Pat may never average 20 points per game so long as Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan dominate possession of the ball, his performance thus far has inspired a lot of hope he could one day become that player in the future. After seeing so many former Bulls go on to thrive after leaving Chicago, it’s good to know that for once this team seems to be properly developing its talent for the future.