Tuesday, March 21, 2023

In His Third Season, One Chicago Bull Is Putting The League On Notice


Chicago is infamously known as one of America’s most passionate sports towns, and athletes have been known before to crumble under the pressure of the entire city’s emotions. Mitch Tribusky for the Bears and Lauri Markkanen for the Bulls have spoken in recent years about how this city’s media and fans are some of the industry’s most supportive but critical people and that it admittedly can affect their performances between the lines. The latest case of scrutiny has been Bulls’ third-year forward Patrick Williams, who was under the spotlight by default as the fourth overall selection in the draft and the new regime’s first selection in Chicago.

Early Career Struggles

Starting 71 games as a rookie, Williams held his own but certainly did not fit the bill of a top-five pick. Averaging less than ten points per game, on 48% from the field and 39% from deep, his production was fine but nothing that jumped off of the page. He showed flashes of explosiveness, defensive tenacity, and the ability to guard some of the league’s best scorers. He was also named to the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team.

In his sophomore season, he suffered a dislocated wrist that required surgery and sidelined the 20-year-old for six months. When he returned, the real expectations started to rise. He dropped a 35-point performance in the season finale, where he was the featured scorer with Chicago resting their starters. In the playoffs, he scored 20 or more in two of the Bulls’ five games and made three or more three-point shots in the final two games. Excitement was at an all-time high for the former Florida State forward, and the Windy City was buzzing about what his third season could look like.

In the first month of his third season, Williams started to worry Bulls fans with his seven points, two rebounds, and less than half an assist per game averages. His shooting was also not on par, only making 42% of his shots overall and 35% from three-point territory; he was not even remotely the player anyone was hyped for coming into the 2022-23′ campaign.

Bursting Onto The Scene

Three whole months into the season, Patrick Williams has finally arrived. Gradually improving his numbers over the year, his latest month featured 13 points, over five rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game, all monumentally increasing from the first weeks in November. His shooting percentages in January sat at 48.5% overall and 42% from beyond the three-point arc, at least a 6% increase in each from his initial numbers. He’s scored 15 or more six times so far in 2023, something he failed to do a single time in November.

“If he don’t shoot it, he’s going to get cussed the **** out,”…”If he plays bad or doesn’t compete the way I know he can compete, it’s verbal abuse.”

DeMar DeRozan via NBC Chicago Postgame

Carrying a 7-3 record when Williams scores 15 or more, his teammates urge the young forward to continue to be aggressive and find his confidence, sometimes more vocally than others.

The most underrated aspect of the 21-year-old’s game is his defense. Often drawing the opposition’s best wing player or scorer, Williams has a tough assignment nightly on that end of the floor. Billy Donovan has also been outspoken about using Williams’s athletic rebounding ability to play a smaller lineup and guard any position on the floor, saying, “When he gives those kinds of efforts, he’s an elite rebounder, and we need that.”

If Patrick Williams can continue the stellar play he’s displayed over the last month and contribute to winning basketball, he could quickly turn into one of the league’s best two-way players. Already among the league’s best defenders, his offensive efficiency and aggression slowly climb as the season progresses. Sitting below the .500 mark through 50 games, Chicago will need him to make any postseason push, and if they punch their ticket will need similar production to last year’s playoff performances from the young forward once they’re in. Did the city of Chicago write him off too soon, or does he still have much to prove as a top-five pick?


Notify of

1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Feb 1, 2023 2:34 pm

Lol remember the article on here where he was the biggest bust in bulls history? I do

Chicago SportsNEWS
Recommended for you

Give us your thoughts.x