Bulls’ Patrick Williams Listed in ‘All-Time Bad’ Draft Class: Analyst

Patrick Williams

Getty Patrick Williams #44, Chicago Bulls

In a December 16 The Ringer story, Zach Kram wrote an article making the argument that the 2020 NBA Draft Class is among the worst draft classes ever due in part because very few of that draft’s lottery picks panned out. Chicago Bulls wing Patrick Williams, who was drafted no. 4 by the team, was named because of his issues on the offensive end.

“On offense, Williams often disappears from the Bulls’ actions, floating for long stretches without any involvement on the ball. With a mere 15 percent career usage rate and more turnovers than assists, Williams hasn’t earned the trust of coach Billy Donovan, who’s spent the season shuffling him in and out of the starting lineup.”

Kram explained that while Williams is a good shooter from three, his lack of volume shooting from behind the perimeter is a problem because he should shoot more.

“Williams’s passivity is perhaps best exemplified by this shooting stat: Williams is an excellent 3-point shooter, ranking sixth among all active players with a 42 percent career rate from distance (min. 200 attempts), but he takes less than half as many 3s as any other player in the top 10. Williams is mostly drilling open looks at this point, but his percentages suggest he should at least be looking for his own shot more than he is.”

In 27 games this season, Williams is shooting 44.4 percent from three. However, he is only attempting three three-point shots a game.

Kram Detailed Williams’ Workload on Defense

While Kram criticized Williams’ shortcomings on the offensive end, he explained that Williams has been tasked with covering some of the best players in the NBA.

“Williams has shouldered a tremendous defensive burden on a Bulls team whose three best players are all offense-first All-Stars,” Kram said. “In his career, Williams has guarded Giannis Antetokounmpo for the most defensive possessions and Zion Williamson for the second-most; other All-Stars like Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard also rank among Williams’s 10 most frequent defensive matchups, according to Second Spectrum.”

Though the Bulls are currently 11-16, they have the league’s 10th-lowest defensive rating, allowing 111.2 points per 100 possessions. They are ahead of teams with better records than them, like the Brooklyn Nets, who are 17-12, and the Denver Nuggets, who are 17-10.

Bulls’ Future Draft Pick Situation

With the record they have now, the Bulls have to decide if they want to keep their squad the way it is now or if they should start over. If they trade away their best players in hopes of getting a high first-round pick, they could escape having to give up future first-round picks to the Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs.

If their first-round pick finishes outside of the top four this season, it will go to the Magic, as they agreed to when they acquired Nikola Vucevic in 2021. If the opposite happens, then they will keep their pick, but their 2024 first-round pick will be only top-3 protected. If the Bulls manage to keep it, they will convey their 2026 and 2027 second-round picks to the Magic.

When that situation gets resolved, the Bulls may also have to deal a future first-round pick to the Spurs, as they agreed to when they acquired DeMar DeRozan. Either two years after the Bulls would hypothetically convey their pick to the Magic or in 2025, should the pick not convey at all, the Bulls will have protections on the lone first-round pick they’d have to send to the Spurs in return for DeRozan.

In the first year, the pick will be top-10 protected. If it doesn’t convey, it will be top-8 protected, then will be top-8 protected the next year if it doesn’t convey. If it doesn’t convey all three years, the Bulls will convey its 2028 second-round pick to the Spurs.

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