Billy Donovan Delivers Encouraging Patrick Williams News

Getty Patrick Williams

At one point, we thought Chicago Bulls second-year forward Patrick Williams could miss a few weeks of the regular season. Now it appears he might be on the floor for the team’s final preseason matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Per NBC Sports’ Rob Schaefer, head coach Billy Donovan gave the optimistic and encouraging update.

If Williams is back for the final preseason game, fans might get a glimpse of the team’s entire rotation–sans Coby White. That’s exciting. It gets better, per The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry.

The Bulls play the Grizzlies on October 15 so there is a full five days for Williams to be evaluated. He suffered a severely sprained ankle last month, but it would appear he is healing well.

Williams’ return will create a good problem for Donovan.


Where Will Patrick Williams Slot in if He Returns Against the Grizzlies?

Williams will almost certainly become a starter upon his return to the lineup. The Bulls didn’t select him No. 4 overall to bring him off the bench–at least not long term.

Williams will presumably be the starting power forward giving Chicago an exciting starting five of Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Williams and Nikola Vucevic. When you consider how good the Bulls have looked in three preseason games, there is a reason for optimism.

Because the Bulls have looked so good, largely because of the way the starting group–without Williams–has played, you have to wonder how his return will impact Javonte Green and others.


Who Will Lose the Most Minutes When Williams Returns?

Elias Schuster of Bleacher Nation raved about Green after his preseason debut, wondering how Donovan would pull him out of the lineup when Williams returns. Schuster wrote:

Head coach Billy Donovan tagged Green to move into the starting lineup with second-year forward Patrick Williams on the sideline. It was a surprising decision … until it wasn’t. From the moment the ball tipped-off Green looked like the human embodiment of a Red Bull. He was fighting through screens, swooping in for the deflections, sprinting in transition, and cutting to the rim. With 13 points, 8 rebounds (four offensive), 4 blocks, and 2 steal to go along with 0 turnovers and only 2 fouls, he made his case for a spot in this new rotation. Before Green’s showing it felt like the Bulls *healthy* nine-man squad would look something like this: Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, Nikola Vucevic, Alex Caruso, Coby White, Troy Brown Jr., and Tony Bradley. Expand things out to a 10-man look, and it felt as if Derrick Jones Jr. would be the next man up. I still have to imagine this is the group of front-runners, but what if this becomes the norm for Green over the next few preseason games? Can you even justify keeping him off the floor? On an undersized team with multiple ballhandlers and offensive weapons, Green looked like a potentially perfect compliment. He focused on being at the right spot at the right time, stirring up havoc on the defensive end, and simply staying out of the big dogs’ way. Not to mention, his hustle and athleticism fit perfectly with this fast-paced, transition-based system.

Green has earned himself a spot in the Bulls rotation. His energy is infectious and he’s more skilled than it appeared when the Bulls acquired him last season in a trade with the Boston Celtics.

The PF spot belongs to Williams, but hopefully he takes some queues from the way Green has played in the preseason.

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