FORGET COLLEGE FOOTBALL. WE ARE LESS THAN 40 DAYS AWAY FROM BULLS BASKETBALL, PEOPLE.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
- The Chicago Bulls can’t stop buying Patrick Williams stock. The organization’s No. 4-overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft has yet to burst onto the scene, but the Bulls seem to believe that is more due to circumstance than anything else. The youngest NCAA prospect in his class, Williams’ first year in the league came in a retooling season. As much experience as he got over his 71 games, he also watched practically the entire roster around him begin to change at the trade deadline. Then, after having his first real NBA offseason to prepare for a key role on a new-look team, he faced wrist surgery just five games into the season.
- While Williams returned for the final 12 regular season games and appeared in all five playoff matchups, I think it’s safe to say Year 2 didn’t allow for the kind of development the Bulls hoped. The good news is that he’s still young enough and athletically gifted enough to reach the high expectations originally set for him on draft night. The bad news is that the Bulls might be rushing him through that process as they look to stay in the playoff mix.
- Don’t get me wrong, we should hold Williams to a higher standard than many. That’s what comes with being a top-4 pick. But the Bulls’ lack of offseason moves – even around the margins – put an extreme amount of pressure on the 21-year-old to take a massive step. ESPN’s Brain Windhorst reiterated this on a recent episode of the Hoops Collective Podcast when explaining the franchise’s quiet summer:
“They put a lot into Patrick Williams. They believe a lot in him. You talk about two-way wings, that’s the type of guy they believe can be a core player for them.”
- I’m still on the Williams bandwagon. He has too much raw talent and has shown too many jaw-dropping flashes for me not to adore his potential. But I’d be lying if I said all this pressure doesn’t have me worried. Missing basically the entire second season of his NBA career could very well impact how quickly he ascends this season. Whether it be his offensive aggressiveness, screen-setting, playmaking, or overall feel for the game, he still has a lot to prove before becoming the kind of impact contributor that pushes a team past a first-round series.
- At least he’s been looking like a beast on the practice court this summer …
- Bleacher Report decided to rank the best landing spots for veteran scorer Carmelo Anthony, and the Chicago Bulls checked in at No. 2. On the surface, it’s easy to see where they are coming from. We all know the Bulls need shooting, especially in the wake of their best 3-point shooter possibly not being ready for the start of the season. Anthony is a career 35.5 percent threat from downtown, and he’s shot an average of 38.9 percent over the past three seasons. I’d gladly that that! Unfortunately, though, he is also 38 years old and carries quite a poor defensive reputation. Would I be comfortable with him having either Tony Bradley or Marko Simonovic’s roster spot? Sure, but I sadly don’t see the Bulls eating the money it would take to waive either and sign him.
- The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry took an optimistic approach when addressing Ball’s potential absence to start the season:
Ball’s absence undoubtedly will be a setback. What it shouldn’t do is cripple the Bulls as it did last season. Nine months is too long and 47 games without Ball is too large a sample size for the Bulls to not be able to put out something better than the second-half fading act we saw unfold last season.
- At the end of the day, I understand where Mayberry is coming from, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I wrote a couple more thoughts on Ball earlier this week below.
- Zach LaVine makes it all look so easy.
- The league continues to bounce back from its pandemic year, as the salary cap is expected to exceed expectations for next season.
- AC >>>> Mona Lisa
- He’s on my fantasy team … so color me conflicted.