Patrick Williams, Patrick Williams, Patrick Williams, and Other Bulls Bullets

Shoutout to my body for giving me my best night of sleep in quite some time last night. A week of 9:00 p.m tip-offs will do that to you, I guess.

•   If basically all of these bullets were not about Patrick Williams, I would not be doing my job right. Sure, the Bulls may have lost last night to the defending champs, but that game was a win for the rookie. When he was not hauling in 7 rebounds or poking away 4 steals, he was tasked with guarding LeBron James, and he did arguably the best a 19-year-old who is only 10 games into his NBA career could do. I mean, seriously, it was impressive as hell.

•   According to the NBA’s matchup tracking, James scored 19 of his 28 points with Williams guarding him, but he was also held to just 3 assists and an 0-2 performance from behind the arc. Williams forced James into 3 turnovers and sent him to the line just twice, as well. I know it may not feel like allowing an 8-12 shooting performance is anything to hang your hat on, but let’s remember this is LEBRON FREAKIN’ JAMES we’re talking about. The rookie displayed the versatile, aggressive, and high-IQ defense this front office and coaching staff has raved about since draft night. What might even be more encouraging than his execution, though, is his mindset. Williams has shown no fear over his first 10 games, and after last night’s loss, he said all the right words (via The Athletic): “I can’t really say much except I got better,” Williams said. “I got better tonight as a defender, as a player. Just being around (James), watching him, guarding him — I got better. In the 10th game of the season, that’s all you can ask for. I took on the challenge.”

•   MID-BULLETS PAT WILL CONTENT DUMP:

•   No, but really, how hyped should we be about Williams? Take it away, LeBron:

•   Williams has now guarded James and Giannis Antetokounmpo over his first 10 games of the season, and there is absolutely no question this will do him nothing but good moving forward. Honestly, watching all the experience Williams is getting in the starting lineup has made me wish we saw Coby White rack up more starts last season. Don’t get me wrong, I was an advocate for easing him into things, but it eventually got to a point where White should have been given the opportunity to matchup against the other team’s best talent. Those are tremendous learning experiences, and it’s possible White would be in an even more comfortable place now if took a starting role then

•   In other super good news, Wendell Carter Jr. (23pts, 7reb, 3ast) put up his second 20+ point game of the season last night. The big man only had two 20-point performances in the entirety of the 2019-20 season. While no Anthony Davis certainly made his night easier, he still played with a level of aggression and confidence that we’ve rarely seen in the past. He ran to the rim with force, set tremendous screens, and simply recognized how to exploit matchups. After the game, he too said all the right words (via Bulls.com): “Just getting in the pocket, making the right reads. I got more aggressive on offense and took my shots. I made a commitment to my team that I will do better because I am gifted, as gifted as I am on defense as I am on offense. I just have to take my shots and I hit them. Sometimes I am the best option and I need to take my shots. I did tonight.” KEEP. THAT. ENERGY. WENDELL.

•   I’m not sure the last time I’ve heard a Bulls team this confident. Even after a close loss, the team is picking out the positives and recognizing the continued growth. Sure, it’s important to pinpoint the faults and work on those behind the scenes, but it tells us a lot about this young squad’s development that they are finally able to see the work their putting in is paying off. These boys are hungry for more.

•   No Luka Donicic and now no Jayson Tatum? Wow.

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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