Patrick Williams is the Key to Success, Another Fan Banned, Playoff Updates, and Other Bulls Bullets

I woke up today and thought it was Sunday for a whole hour. Apparently, it’s not. My bad.

•   The Chicago Bulls may have put Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic in the driver’s seat, but the organization will only go as far as Patrick Williams takes it. The No. 4-overall pick was the first investment by the new front office, and as only the second-youngest player in the NBA this season, his high-upside is undeniable. It’s the reason he entered the draft after playing only one full season off the bench at Florida State, and it’s the reason he was vaulted up draft boards the last offseason. Williams simply has all the tools needed to be an elite player at the professional level, and he said as much his end-of-season press conference (h/t Bulls.com).

“The last couple of games coach has been on me about catching the ball, looking at the rim first and making sure that if I can shoot that I shoot it. He has confidence in me, my teammates have confidence in me. That’s definitely the thing I’ve been working on, for sure. I really think I can be as good as I want to be. I think I have the talent, the size, the strength, the athleticism; I pretty much have it all.”

•   A lot of it feels mental for Williams, and we wrote about that a couple of weeks back. Entering the league as a top-5 pick after playing a six-man role is not common. A lot of his recent basketball success has come in a complementary role rather than as a true No. 1, and I have to imagine that is why we saw him so easily defer to other players on the offensive end. However, Donovan is right. For the Bulls to take the next step, Williams has to look at the rim first. Not only can the team be a remarkably dynamic offense with Williams in attack mode, but approaching the game that way should help him understand how special of a player this franchise believes he can be.

“I think we have the pieces. I think we just need Pat to take his game to the next level,” Thaddeus Young told reporters at his end-of-season press conference. “Pat is a phenomenal player already at the age of 19; he has a lot of physical attributes that most 19-year-olds don’t have. He has the ability to put the ball on the floor, he has the ability to shoot the three, he has the ability to hover over people and get floaters off. And he’s a phenomenal defender as well. I think with time and more understanding of the game he’s going to continue to be great.”

•   More confidence in himself should lead to more drives to the hoop. He flashed some great instincts cutting to the basket this season, and I’m sure that will continue to pay off with more of the offense running through Vucevic next year. But in terms of putting the ball on the floor and getting to the rim, Williams left more to be desired. While the rookie gave us great glimpses of what his physicality and wide frame can do off some quick pass or DHO’s, he only shot 37.5 percent on driving layup shots, according to NBA.com’s tracking data. He has a pretty solid ball-handling foundation for a player his size, so I think some extra practice (and muscle) will make him an even more deadly driver. Anyway, can you imagine an aggressive P-Will with the inside-outside presence of the Vooch-LaVine combo … my goodness!

•   I know we were all inside for a long time, but damn. Did fans really forget this crap is nowhere near acceptable?

•   Someone should tell all the fans mad at this that players run across the logo the whole game. I know, *gasp!*

•   The Clippers have been a weird team to figure out over the past couple of seasons. While Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have the talent to lead this team on a deep playoff run, I think LA has been a prime example of how hard it can be to find the right roster chemistry/balance. Also, they have to rely too much on streaky guys like Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson, which can put them in some sticky situations.

•   Oof. Anthony Davis can’t seem to stay healthy. We’ll have to see if the Suns use this as an opportunity to punch the Lakers in the month.

•   Is that good? 

•   Happy Memorial Day!

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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