2. Patrick Williams
When Patrick Williams was drafted 4th overall by the Bulls in 2020, he immediately had high expectations after being drafted behind Anthony Edwards and Lamelo Ball, and 8 spots before Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton. He was one of the youngest players in that draft class and was viewed as a very raw player with a high ceiling.
Throughout his career so far, his defensive impact is undeniable. He has quickly become a top defender in the league and has taken on the task of guarding some of the best players in the NBA ever since his rookie year. However, his biggest criticism was on the offensive side of the ball. He shoots well from nearly everywhere on the court but had a debilitating lack of aggressiveness that made him an offensive liability.
This year, however, he has developed and improved his mentality on offense, being more decisive with his shot selection and not doubting himself, and it has yielded positive results. Williams has seen an increased role in the absence of Zach LaVine, and he has taken it in stride, averaging 14 points and 5 boards on 51/48/65 shooting splits over the last 13 games.
He has been excellent from long range and has had some highly efficient games, including his 25-point performance against the Miami Heat, where he shot 8-for-10 from the field and 4-for-5 from deep. He has been solid from everywhere on the court, ranking in the 86th percentile in midrange shooting at 49%, 41% from 3, and is averaging a dunk per game in December, which is in the 90th percentile among qualified players.
Additionally, Williams has developed even further on the defensive side of the ball, evolving into a player who could win an all-defensive selection within the next few years. Williams has been able to slow down some of the best players in the league and is putting up really solid defensive stats at the same time.
On the season, he is averaging a steal and block per game while being in the 91st percentile in deflections, 89th percentile in Defensive EPM, and has the best block percentage among non-centers. He has truly been able to dominate on the defensive end and is rapidly developing into a premier 3-and-D player. While he may not warrant a $200 million contract, he is definitely someone the Bulls should be keeping on the roster if he does not have outlandish demands.