It’s Time For Patrick Williams To Take A Leap

Patrick Williams scored 16 of his 18 points in the third quarter against the 76ers in Chicago’s January 6th win in Philadelphia, which broke a pattern of his.

Williams has grown accustomed to fast starts recently, seeing increased on-ball repetitions in the first quarter, only to fade away from there and not rear his head much during the rest of the game.

At Philadelphia, Williams went to halftime with 0 points, and responded with the best third quarter of his career, a sign that he can adapt to the game later in its process.

This further underlines how the Bulls need to get Williams activated over the course of full games. Having just one good quarter simply can’t be enough halfway into his third season, the onus is on both him and the coaching staff to find a way to those minor explosions into consistent production.

Williams, who has grown defensively this season, is a unique player who has yet to fully comprehend his offensive skills. In the follow-up game against the Utah Jazz on December 7th, he finished with just seven points, further hinting at a need of consistency development.

The 21-year-old has the ability to stop on a dime after initiating a dribble, and his pull-up jumpers come baked in with a small fading angle, that creates significant separation from his primary defender. The shot is rarely in danger of being blocked as a result, and is further aided by the height of Williams’ jump.

It’s also worth noting that the forward is reliable in catch-and-shoot situations, where he’s connecting on 41.3% from downtown, all of his makes having been assisted.

The inconsistencies are found mostly near the rim, and in his lack of free throw attempts. While 35.2% of Williams’ offense comes from within ten feet of the basket, he shies away from contact, and most of his close range makes are thus less contested.

This is where the broad-shouldered Williams need to understand that at 6’8, 235 pounds, and with a seven-foot wingspan, he’s an immense human being. On the few occasions he does take contact, opponents bounce off of him, not vice versa.

In recent games, Williams has begun ghosting the screen in order to get a pass while on the run, to generate better options for himself. This has led to both scores, but also quick passes to teammates for scores elsewhere. Against the Sixers, Williams received the ball and quickly found Nikola Vučević right near the basket for a quick layup. If that short-roll game comes along, Williams could find himself playing a vital role in Chicago’s offense, and help raise their overall potential.

Of course, with Williams it’s all often small sample sizes. That’s part of the problem. You’ll see his extraordinary qualities only as samplings. You rarely get the full meal.

As the Bulls get ready for their second half of the season, it’s crucial Williams plays a larger role for the team offensively.

That starts with the coaching staff outright making him a higher priority on the court, even as he shares it with Vučević, Zach LaVine, and DeMar DeRozan. But Williams has to buy in, and not just partially. He needs to embrace the idea of becoming one of the best players on the team, and force himself to flat out take more shots. They’re there, available for him within the flow of the offense. But too often will he pass up open shots and driving lanes. No more. That has to become a part of the past.

As they have been all year, all eyes in Chicago’s front office will maintain its gaze on Williams for the second half of the year, hoping their decision in picking him fourth overall in 2020 will pay off.

Unless noted otherwise, all stats via, PBPStats, Cleaning the Glass or Basketball-Reference. All salary information via Spotrac. All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook.

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