Patrick Williams Explained What A Summer With DeMar DeRozan is Like

Patrick Williams’ second season in the NBA didn’t go as expected. In line to fill the starting power forward spot on a revamped roster, Williams found himself riding the bench for 65 of the team’s 82 regular-season games.

The No. 4-overall pick in 2020 dislocated his wrist on a poster dunk attempt that epitomized his potential. It was a fluke injury on an unintentional hard foul, one that set back his highly-anticipated development the moment he made contact with the hardwood.

Williams was able to return to the floor with 12 regular-season games to go. And while he flashed the elite two-way skill set that continues to make him one of the NBA’s most fascinating youngsters, it was not early enough time to grow his game in the way we all hoped to see this season.

Cue DeMar DeRozan.

At his end-of-season press conference, the Chicago Bulls’ All-NBA Second Team member made one thing clear: “Pat is my main victim.” DeRozan said he had already extended Williams an invite to his LA home, where the 20-year-old could take the next step by experiencing his rigorous summer workout regimen.

Fast forward to today, and Williams has learned that DeRozan is a man of his word. In a conversation with color announcer Stacey King on his Gimme the Hot Sauce Podcast, Williams explained that the two would get up at 3:30 a.m. to make a 5:00 a.m. workout. They would do strength exercises that centered mainly around using their own body weight. Afterward, an hour of on-court work would follow before some time on the sideline. They would then return to get more shots up later in the afternoon.

DeRozan said back on April 28th that his priority would be to get Williams “right mentally,” and it sure sounds like he’s accomplished just that:

“I think it’s more so how he approaches the workouts as opposed to the actual routine,” Williams said when asked about what he’s learned. “Like I said, he gets up at 5am, it’s tough on the mental more than anything …

Everything he does just has a mental aspect to it. Waking up in the morning, can you lock-in at 5 am? Can you lock in for the whole lift or the workout? Can you lock in on the court after you just worked out and woke up at 5 am? Can you push through fatigue?”  

It’s been undeniable since the first time he stepped on the floor: Williams has the physical tools. What the third-year forward has been lacking is an understanding of how to consistently use those elite physical attributes to his advantage. DeRozan – one of the NBA’s most reliable and meticulous players – certainly feels like the right person to teach him how, specifically on the offensive end.

Williams has struggled most to look comfortable scoring the basketball. Whether in Summer League or his 35-point performance at the end of the regular season, he’s shown signs of a diverse offensive toolbox. Unfortunately, he’s also shown hesitancy when sharing the floor with more proven scorers like DeRozan and Zach LaVine.

The Bulls know the only way to unlock their full potential is for Williams to leave any timidness in the past. Hopefully DeRozan – a man who has scored effortlessly on even the best defenders – can show him how to do just that.

“We go at it in the workouts,” Williams told King. “I think that’s another thing that makes him so good. He’s going against different people every summer. He invites different people out every summer, he goes against them in the workout. He’s been guarded by so many different people in the workouts that the game is kind of second nature to him.”

Williams still has a long offseason ahead of him to prepare for a pivotal Year 3, but it sure sounds like he’s already made the most of his time off. And, hey, shoutout to DeRozan for guiding him through that process!

Anyway, make sure to listen to the full Gimme the Hot Sauce podcast to hear Williams talk about Zach LaVine, what he learned while hurt, and much more:

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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