The Chicago Bulls have to love the workout plan that veteran DeMar DeRozan has for teammate Patrick Williams. With the Bulls’ swift exit from the playoffs after losing their first-round matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks, the offseason is squarely in focus.
Overwhelmingly, the message during exit interviews was continuity, better health, and internal growth.
That was particularly true for DeRozan, who is known for the work that he puts in during the offseason. He let it be known that he intends to invite his teammates out to train with him this offseason.
More than that, he got specific.
“Pat’s my main victim”, he told NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer.
Patrick Williams is still an enigma
Patrick Williams just finished his second NBA season. But he played just 17 games after needing wrist surgery with 12 of his appearances coming down the stretch of the regular season. The former fourth-overall pick started just nine games after starting 71 games as a rookie.
He has been plagued with a lack of aggression dating back to his rookie season with teammates coming to him with requests to take advantage of his opportunities.
Williams provided several examples of his potential down the stretch with 35 points while knocking down 3-of-4 threes in the regular-season finale. He finished the regular season shooting 52.9% from the floor and 51.7% from beyond the arc.
He averaged 21.5 points per game on 61.5% shooting over the final two playoff games.
In his own words, Williams said he is looking for one thing above all else next season: consistency.
To his credit, Williams knows the onus to be more aggressive is on him, per Schaefer.
“Definitely. I think that’s on me… knowing when I catch the ball, this is what I can get to, this is a move that I can make, and just being aggressive whenever I catch it.”
From the Mamba Mentality
If DeRozan has his way, the former Florida State Seminole will have no problem coming into next season as a more predictable player in a good way. While he didn’t get specific on many details of the plan, DeRozan did say it would involve getting up at 4 a.m. and its origins.
“I got it from Kobe early in my career. His conversations and his preparations and the way he approaches his craft was always given to me in a way of: ‘Take this and apply it to you the best way as it fit. But this is how I got to where I got.’”
DeRozan spoke of relaying the importance of putting in the work to his young protege.
“We had a conversation the other day of how important going into your third year, that summer, how important that summer is…you should understand more than ever how to address those things and start to create a checklist, and go down that list. Go down that list.”
DeRozan taking to the Fiserv Forum court to get up shots after his Game 1 performance, and then delivering on his guarantee is a great example of putting that work in during the off-hours.
Making it Matter
DeRozan’s plan sound’s great. As does Williams’ vow to come back more consistent. Both takes jibe with the overwhelming sentiment that continuity is the main desire of everyone involved, including Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls’ vice president of basketball operations.
That bodes well for Williams’ future in a Bulls uniform after he was the subject of trade rumors ahead of the deadline and will surely be again this summer.
None of it will matter, though, unless he puts it into action. He has now seen himself do it and has acknowledged that it is up to him to make the necessary changes. He still offers the highest upside on anyone currently on the roster. Everyone, including the Bulls, is just waiting for the results.
Results that may start to come this summer discovering his “Mamba Mentality” with DeRozan who offered great perspective.
“You’re not gonna be able to knock everything off in one summer. But as long as you stay consistent by getting better at one thing after another after another, you look up throughout your career, you’re a more complete player…Everything comes with consistently working.”