The Chicago Bulls are in a bad up-and-down rut marked by multiple hits of over 20 points over the past five weeks. Injuries were the primary excuse for Chicago’s fall from grace and it was believed that once the roster was back in full force, the slide would be over.
But a number of key players have come back over the past few weeks, and unfortunately that didn’t make much of a difference.
Patrick Williams was one of the players who believed in the media and fans that he would have an immediate impact on the Bulls, and specifically on defense, upon his return. While his last two matches against the Clippers and the Heat were strong, everything before that was…frustrating.
In his last eight games, Williams has scored 47 points and 39 rebounds while contributing a -23 +/- stretch that has taken the Bulls a 4-4 lead.
What is the ceiling height of Patrick Williams for the Chicago Bulls?
A big part of this is the fact that he is out of a long rehab. It’s always been foolish to think that a guy who hasn’t played in an NBA game for five months will come back without some sort of condensation. His return, as well as Alex Caruso, should have always been seen as an assist in Chicago’s defensive slots.
The real issue that had emerged since his return was there before he was injured as well. Williams is a player who has the potential to be very good in the NBA but doesn’t have the “it” factor to be a star.
Lottery picks are players that evolve into stars – at least that’s the projection/hope when they are drafted. Williams, along with fellow lottery teammate Kobe White, were seen as players the front office could develop and hand the keys to in the future.
Williams’ athleticism made people think he could be a two-way star, similar to that of Kawhi Leonard. The problem is that it is not aggressive from the offensive side. There are many times that Williams goes through offensive moves.
This may be due to a lack of ball movement as most of the Bulls’ attack without Lonzo Ball has centered around superstar scorers DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, both of whom aren’t great ball-handling players. Williams sure has a role for himself in attack, but he’s not always looking to take the ball or mid-range in the cuts.
Instead, he kicked her for an even worse hit. His 3-point shot is still inconsistent and his handles are mediocre at best. Defensively, he obviously gives the team a boost but that won’t matter until the attack can figure out a way to score with the best of them.
Many of these issues could be – and probably are – a symptom of not playing for five months. Most of Williams’ development this season has come from studying film due to his injury and a short stint with the Windy City Bulls – although he has shown the same offensive disappearance in his rookie campaign.
The former No. 4 overall pick is an enigma in the sense that he has the tools to be very good but is on his way to being more than a solid player despite high hopes as a lottery pick. Bulls fans hope that won’t be the case, but his limited impact in the first 84 games of his career may already tell us all we need to know.