Young Bulls Forward a Bright Spot Heading Towards Playoffs

Patrick Williams

Getty Images Patrick Williams

Despite a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday night was a good night for the Chicago Bulls franchise. With the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss to the Orlando Magic, the Bulls clinched no worse than the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs meaning the team will make the playoffs for the first time since the 2016-17 season and can avoid a matchup in the play-in tournament.

While that’s certainly good news for the Bulls, the team still does have some things to improve on. Chicago is currently 45-34 and sitting in sixth place in the conference just a game behind the Toronto Raptors. The Bulls are just 4-6 over their last ten games, but if they can close the season strong they could land the fifth seed.

Young Bull Coming Around

While the Bulls have been struggling on the court recently there have been some positive signs. It’s been nine games since second-year forward Patrick Williams has returned after missing over four months due to wrist surgery.

During the first six games back Williams was tentative to shoot the ball at times as he was getting back into the swing of things. However, over the last three games, Williams’s play has really started to pick up for the Bulls.

Williams has scored in double figures in each of his last three games averaging 13.3 points per game. He’s also been a factor on the boards for the Bulls averaging 8.0 rebounds per game.

The 20-year-old has also been really efficient in the way he has scored his points. Over the last three games, Williams has shot a blistering 78.9% from the field and has made five of the seven three-pointers he has attempted.

It’s a small sample size considering Williams has only played 14 games this season, but he’s been among the most efficient bigs in the NBA according to Cleaning the Glass. Among bigs, he ranks 22nd in point per shot attempt with 134.3 points per 100 shot attempts. Williams also ranks 15th in effective field goal percentage at 66.1% and is in the 99th percentile of three-point percentage at 47.6%.

Williams’s recent play gives the Bulls plenty of reason to be excited now and for the future.

The Road Ahead

While Williams has been playing well,  unfortunately, isn’t enough to cover up the Bulls’ problems. The team’s list of injuries is still extensive and will be hard for the Bulls to overcome.

Lonzo Ball has been shut down for the season due to issues with his rehab. On top of that Zach LaVine is struggling with a balky knee that has caused him to miss games and while Alex Caruso has returned from his wrist surgery he is now struggling with back spasms.

Those injuries don’t affect the Bulls’ lack of interior depth, which is also a big issue. It’s no secret that with the playoffs approaching the Bulls have a mountain of issues to overcome. However, Bulls fans should keep in mind that the team took significant steps forward this season and that in itself is a big win.

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