Chicago Bulls rookie Patrick Williams is wasting no time acclimating to the NBA level.
The 19-year-old fourth overall pick who was the second-youngest player in the 2020 NBA Draft was seen playing pickup games with several NBA players, including Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie and Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young.
Yes, it was a half-speed pickup game. Yes, these are spliced highlights, but regardless, Williams’ athleticism and handling at 6-foot-8 proved evidence of his time playing point guard in high school before a sudden growth spurt.
New Bulls rookie Patrick Williams.
— Bulls Gold (@BullsGold) November 20, 2020
Dinwiddie, 27, was asked via Twitter of his opinion on Williams, and gave glowing praise to the rookie eight years his junior.
He has no ceiling
— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) November 21, 2020
Williams’ Versatility on Display
While Williams’ full six-minute highlight reel is no evidence of his success in a real-game scenario, the highlights did show his versatility against talent professional talent.
Williams displayed fluid ball handling, precise passing and effective at getting to the rim and as a pull-up shooter. Here are his full highlights:
Williams has faced some flak from fans who have learned he was not a starter at Florida State. It’s true, he did not start for the No. 4-ranked Seminoles but did help Florida State win the ACC Championship as the league’s sixth man of the year. Williams’ coach, Leonard Hamilton, responded to the critiques of Williams not starting games saying, “he finished them.”
Williams’ draft stock spiked approaching the draft as his athleticism and ball handling became more known among teams. Seminoles leading scorer Devin Vassell was drafted No. 11 behind Williams.
In short, Williams was selected not for who he is, just becoming accustomed to his newfound size and position as a big, but his potential.
Williams’ Response to Not Starting Fits Bulls’ New Vision
Coming off the bench, Williams averaged 9.2 points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block per game in his freshman year. It’s unclear how the Bulls intend to use Williams, but at the very least he’ll be used as a defender and rim runner in his first season.
Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas has already stashed the No. 44 overall pick Marko Siminovich for the season as the upcoming season will likely be an ongoing retooling of the roster.
Williams’ response to coming off the bench and playing whatever role is deemed fit is exactly the response the new front office was looking for.
“It just taught me how to do your part — whatever your part is, whether that’s coming off the bench or whether that’s starting and playing big minutes, it just taught me to do my part and do it well,” Williams said, per 670 The Score. “Coming off the bench and not starting, with (getting) maybe 12 minutes (initially), I think you see that I did well that 12 minutes and then toward the end of the season, those minutes increased. And I kind of just embraced that role. In the NBA, it’s all about roles. Everybody can’t be a LeBron James from Day 1 or a Michael Jordan from Day 1. You got to embrace your role and do your role well, then you’re trusted with more.”
Under coach Billy Donovan and a new coaching staff that’s forté is player development, the Bulls will emphasize the growth of their fourth overall pick.