Bulls forward Patrick Williams continues a slow evolution

Bulls forward Patrick Williams continues a slow evolution

Bulls power forward Patrick Williams will not develop at the pace initially expected.

But Williams, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 draft, won’t apologize for that. Because in his head he thinks he’s starting to get it.

More importantly, his teammates are starting to get him.

“I’m just maturing in this league,” Williams said after the Bulls’ win over the Nets on Wednesday. ”That [wrist] OP cost me last year what, [65] games? But what cost me was the experience, the playing. So I try to learn spontaneously and get better.

“And to be honest, I’m enjoying this maturing process. Maybe not everyone else likes how fast it’s going, but my mindset has changed a lot lately and I feel like my teammates’ mindset has changed too.

That’s the confidence Williams has built — confidence that he’s not just going to be a shotmaker, he’s going to be a shottaker.

If there was one big hit against Williams, it was that he had too many passive pat moments. Since last season, coaches Billy Donovan and the Bulls Williams veterans have commented on his confidence in scoring and being more aggressive.

Since early December, however, the Bulls have made a more conscious effort to execute sets and actions to get Williams the ball — either for a corner three-pointer or downhill — off the lead.

You have to give Williams credit for finally taking advantage of that.

While his scoring average since Dec. 1 is still 10.5 points per game, nearly half of that comes in the first quarter. Williams is averaging 4.5 points on 60.8% shots from the field and 64.7% shots from three-point range in the first quarter.

That includes a season-best 12 points in the first quarter on Wednesday, a game in which he finished with a season-high 22 points in his most complete performance of the season.

“Whether I was just being more aggressive or the coach actually worked out a few plays for me or my teammates found me in the actions that we have, it was kind of a combination of all of those,” Williams said of his mindset going into the first quarter . “Now it’s about building on that.”

There’s a list of skills Williams needs to improve, and you can put rebounding at the top. But a lot of things will be solved when he starts to understand how to read the game. Donovan pointed that out to him.

There have been certain plays in recent weeks that Donovan has pointed out as examples of Williams still not understanding how to read the game. Missing box-out Monday on Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell, who forced a basket from a missed free throw in overtime – lane injury or not – was one of them. So it was a missed opportunity to take advantage of Bucks big man Brook Lopez in a two-for-one break last week.

“If you look at boys like that [forward] DeMar [DeRozan], for example, he often overlooks the game in terms of how he’s being guarded,” Donovan said. ” If you put [Williams] into stuff and you tell him, “hey, that’s what we do,” he’s really good. But the flow of the game he has to figure out: ‘OK, that’s who’s guarding me, that’s the coverage they’re in, that’s going to be open, so I have to check, that’s how do I have to bang.’ It’s when the scouting report is off the table and random things happen that you just have to react to.

Williams is confident he can do it.

At his own pace, of course.

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