It starts with Chicago Bulls forward Patrick Williams being more aggressive. That is per his head coach, Billy Donovan, who says they need Williams to “take another step” as a player this coming season.
Williams has said the same of himself to his credit and added that it comes down to being consistent for him.
“I for sure think that I will make a jump this season,” Williams said.
For that to happen, it will take a joint effort from both Donovan and Williams to ensure that the latter is in a position to make the kind of impact that will now be expected of him after two years of flashes. Those flashes include a 35-point outburst to end the regular season and a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double in the playoffs.
The Bulls Offense is Changing
One of the hopes from many on the outside is for Williams to get more on-ball opportunities. It is in those moments that he has looked most comfortable including in that 35-point explosion with many of his teammates resting for the postseason or simply out injured.
With everyone healthy, Williams has had trouble asserting himself among a trio of high-level scorers in DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic.
That should be less of an issue this season if they stick with their current activity.
“So far in the workouts, the offense has kind of changed to more positionless,” Williams said of the team’s scheme without Ball in their plans. “So I think I will be in different areas and different opportunities to make a play…There’s different spacing this year to make plays. So I think definitely with my skill set, my size, my ability just being able to make plays in whatever area or whatever aspect that may be, I think the offense is a lot more open and creative that way this year.”
Williams’ time with DeRozan is one thing. And the support from his teammates is another. But the Bulls need it to be realized
Williams Not Feeling Pressure
“I wouldn’t say I feel pressure. To me, it’s exciting to have people in your corner. To have people who have your back, who want to see you do well. For me it’s exciting. It’s definitely a challenge for sure. It would be a challenge for anybody. But for me to be the player that I want to be and for us to be the team that we know that we can be, I think I play a part in that. Just like everybody else does on the team as well. But I’m looking forward to it.”
That was Williams’ opening response to a question about the heightened expectations placed upon him in this critical third season.
Williams noted that this year is no different than any other in his mind.
“I kind of look at every year like a make-or-break year. I looked at my rookie year that way. My second year that way. This year is the exact same way…At the end of the day, it’s basketball. There’s no need to put any extra pressure on yourself or psyche yourself out and do anything like that. Just go out and play basketball.”
Williams said there are always things players want to work on and that development is part of everyone’s summer and he was no different.
“I been working on my game this summer and I’m ready to show what I’ve been working on.”
Appreciation for DeRozan
Williams spent the early portion of his summer in Los Angeles with DeRozan. He spoke glowingly about the experience upon returning. Williams reiterated how mentally straining the entire process — which includes workouts that begin promptly at 5 a.m. — was and how essential it was to DeRozan’s success.
He also spoke of how appreciative he was that DeRozan took the time to share the knowledge he’s gained over his 13-year career.
“I can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for me this offseason. The only thanks he’s wanted from me is to do the same for another player later on down the line when I’m in his position. So, I can’t say enough about that guy.”
DeRozan has also helped to influence the league’s extra attention on mental health.
Williams opted against giving too much detail when describing the entire workout. But he did repeat that he learned a greater appreciation for the veteran’s approach and will look to apply it in his own way.
Each one teach one. The more you teach others the better you become as a player.