Ask 10 different Chicago Bulls fans their opinion of Patrick Williams, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. The dialogue surrounding the former No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft has been hopeful at best, and just straight-up pessimistic at worst for the past few years. For that reason, I for one will revel in his vast improvement in recent weeks for as long as I can.
Williams submitted perhaps one of his best games of the season Saturday in Orlando, scoring 16 points on an extremely efficient 7-for-11 shooting from the field. He also chipped in six rebounds, a pair of assists, and one block and steal each en route to a dominant 128-109 victory which he featured heavily in.
Don’t be mistaken, this was no anomaly. In fact, Pat has averaged 13.1 points and 5.3 rebounds over his past dozen contest, including 49.1% shooting from the field and an astounding 44.2% from beyond the arc. If he can maintain this level of production, his role on the Chicago Bulls is not only secure, but leaves room for him to grow even further and potentially become the face of this franchise in the future.
His calm and collected demeanor may fool you at first glance, but this is still a player whose capable of embarrassing even Rookie of the Year frontrunner Paolo Banchero on both ends of the court.
In spite of this, Williams’ rise in Chicago may have never even come to fruition in the first place if some fans had their way just a year ago.
The Chicago Bulls made the right call at the 2022 deadline by not trading Patrick Williams to Detroit for Jerami Grant.
If you can recall, the decision to trade for Jerami Grant of the Detroit Pistons was a hotbed issue with a large portion of the fanbase just a year ago. The fuel for this fire was stoked by reports the Bulls were among teams interested in dealing for the veteran two-way forward. B/R’s Zach Buckley was among many in the media to advocate for the Bulls to pull the trigger on this potential trade.
"“Grant is more or less the player they hope Williams might one day become: long, athletic, versatile at both ends and easy to slot alongside stars Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. Grant, who shares a history with both Bulls coach Billy Donovan and executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas, would likely cost the club Williams, Jones and the lottery-protected first-rounder owed to them by the Portland Trail Blazers, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. That’s a steep price, but not if the trade proves to be Chicago’s key to escaping the East.”"
My opinion then was one that held Grant in high regard, but also believed the long-term financial hurdles and the assumed cost of Chicago’s most coveted asset ultimately made it not worth the effort in the end.
So far, that seems to have been a correct assessment. This is especially true given the price tag Portland ended up paying for Grant ended up being one (presumably late) first-rounder and two second-round picks. This offer is substantially less than what the Pistons were rumored to be seeking for Jerami’s services.
Grant has been exceptional for Portland, don’t get me wrong, but is ultimately not an All-Star level player or real ceiling-raising talent. Given rumors that he desires to sign a max contract in this summer’s free agency, I feel comfortable knowing the Bulls dodged a bullet here,
However, still on a rookie deal, Pat can be that difference-maker for the Bulls. With his rookie contract set to expire the same year as DeRozan’s three-year deal, letting them walk would effectively close this chapter in franchise history. For now, Chicago’s best play is to let things play out and see where this road can take us. Williams has rewarded the Chicago Bulls for their patience thus far, so let’s not give up on him right before potentially striking gold.