The Chicago Bulls have only gotten about two years’ worth of production out of Patrick Williams after he missed all but 17 games of his second NBA season. He was one of 10 players to appear in all 82 games during the regular season. But the jury remains out on him on a team constructed to win now.
Perhaps the Bulls could be enticed to part with him.
“The No. 4 overall pick in 2020 still has significant upside,” wrote Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report on May 20. “A change of scenery might be all it takes to unlock it.”
- Kenrich Williams
- Tre Mann
- Future 1st-Round Pick
- Patrick Williams
“Patrick Williams has…hit 41.4 percent of his career triples,” Hughes notes Combine that with rugged defense and apparent comfort occupying a fourth-option spot in the pecking order, and the mobile power forward would look perfect as a change-up for Josh Giddey.”
Williams averaged a career-high 10.2 points with 4.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists.
He is still a low-volume shooter – just 8.3 attempts per game – albeit an efficient one, particularly from deep where he knocked down 41.5% of his look, to Hughes’ point.
Williams was also pulled from the starting lineup twice this season by head coach Billy Donovan. But he has also shown the ability to impose his will offensively when operating as the primary scorer for stretches.
“Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gets to the bucket whenever he wants,” Hughes notes. “How high might his already league-leading drive frequency climb if opponents had to stay attached to their matchups 25 feet from the bucket?”
Kenrich Williams, 28, would bring toughness and more defense to the Bulls with the much-needed ability to knock down an open three shooting 37.3% this past season. He is heading into the first year of a four-year, $27.1 million contract. Pairing a player known as “Kenny Hustle” with 2022-23 All-Defense First-Teamer Alex Caruso could be intriguing.
Mann, 22, was the No. 18 overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft. He averaged just 7.7 points 2.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists this past season but had a strong rookie campaign with 10.4 points per game while knocking down 36% of his threes.
He isn’t a star or a playmaker but would give them an option at point guard absent Lonzo Ball.
The Bulls and Thunder finished with identical records and seeds this past season, and OKC head coach Mark Daigneault is a former protege of Donovan’s.
And the Thunder have a treasure trove of draft picks to choose from.
Of course, it is the flashes of stardom from Williams that have helped keep him in Chicago despite a somewhat disappointing start to his career. And Chicago has given no indication it is ready to go in a different direction.
Arturas Karnisovas on Patrick Williams: ‘I Like His Development’
Williams was executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas’ first-ever first-round pick running the Bulls. After dealing away and watching Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen blossom elsewhere, Karnisovas could be even more attached to Williams than he has shown.
Certainly, nothing has suggested they want to repeat the very recent missteps of moving off of its own prospects to speed up its timeline.
Karnisovas gave up a lot of assets to put this current roster together and, if it continues to come up short, Williams is still the best bet for a building block going forward.
Bulls’ 1st-Round Pick Could Help Land Scoot Henderson
Video of Karnisovas and Bulls general manager Marc Eversley watching the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery with bated breath made the rounds on social media but their pick will convey to the Orlando Magic to finalize the trade for Nikola Vucevic.
That pick – No. 11 overall – could be used by the Magic to go after a prospect many thought the Bulls could target had their pick landed in the top four in which case they would get to keep it.
G League Ignite star Scoot Henderson.
“Orlando holds pick Nos. 6 and 11 and would likely be tempted to trade up and take Henderson if the Hornets select [Alamaba’s Brandon] Miller at No. 2,” wrote John Hollinger of The Athletic on May 19 recapping the events of the combine. “Could some combination of the sixth and 11th picks and another asset allow the Magic to move up to No. 3?”
If that plays out, the Magic will have taken a player compared to former Bulls star Derrick Rose in Henderson and Franz Wagner, the No. 7 overall pick in 2021 who averaged over 18.0 points per game last season.