This is a very important summer for Chicago Bulls forward Patrick Williams. Heading into his third season, many are wanting to see all of the ability and traits that he has flashed sporadically more consistently.
That, perhaps unfairly, adds to the gravity of all that he does between now and the start of the regular season including his 14-point, 14-rebound double-double in the Drew League.
Williams also had three steals in the game which his team came back to win 102-94.
Teammate DeMar DeRozan earned Player of the Game honors for his 36-point, six-rebound outing. But Williams displayed many of the things we have come to associate him with over the last three years – both good and bad – in the game.
DeRozan and Williams are almost opposites on the floor. The former’s game is almost a system unto itself. That got the Bulls in some trouble with that down the stretch last season as they dealt with injuries to their point guards.
For Williams, his injury kept him from displaying much of anything, including his highly-touted defensive prowess.
But the former fourth-overall pick is as assertive offensively as DeRozan is on defense.
The relatively modest production from Williams did not sit well with some Bulls fans who took to Twitter to voice some of their frustrations.
That drew a response from user @maineventjake that it was just a “pick-up game” and that anyone searching for serious basketball should look elsewhere.
Still, other fans took it a step further.
Another fan claimed that Williams was on the receiving end of an in-game poster.
The Reality of Patrick Williams
If those seem like harsh assessments of Williams in an exhibition, consider it a result of the expectations built into him by the Bulls’ front office and the performances of several other players who appeared in the Drew League this summer.
DeRozan has balled out in both of his appearances as one might expect from a veteran. But rookies Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren both put shows on in their debuts.
Williams did show off his defensive versatility, per Chicago sports reporter Daniel Greenberg guarding Clevland Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley who was also playing in the game.
One fan decided to look beyond Williams’ raw stats and ask an important question.
The response was that he played “okay” but looked like he was “going through the motions”, a similar refrain to what has been said of Willimas to this point in his career.
Williams also got support from fans showing faith in his future. We also saw those familiar glimpses of what the Bulls need him to be for now.
The team and fans would surely love to see that on a regular basis.
There are some like CHGO’s Will Gottlieb who are urging the Bulls to put the ball in Williams’ hands more this coming season. And Dime’s Jackson Frank thinks Williams could be poised for a “huge leap” that is typically associated with a player’s third season in the Association.
That was the goal of his “summer from hell” with DeRozan which seemingly includes this game.
Year 3 Leap?
Williams averaged 18.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting 52.3% from the floor and 58.3% from three-point range after coming back from his wrist surgery and getting back into the starting lineup.
He also averaged 21.5 points and 5.5 boards in the Bulls’ final two playoff games.
We will have to wait until the regular season to see exactly how much all of the work Williams has put in this summer has paid off if at all.