Patrick Williams

Bulls 2023-24 season player profiles: Patrick Williams

Forward will hit restricted free agency following up-and-down season cut short by surgery

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Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

NBC Sports Chicago is nearing the end of a series of player profiles on the main rotational players for the Chicago Bulls, both reviewing their 2023-24 season and assessing what’s ahead.

Next up: Patrick Williams

Previous profiles: DeMar DeRozan

Zach LaVine

Coby White

Nikola Vučević

Alex Caruso

Ayo Dosunmu

2023-24 statistics

43 games, 27.3 minutes per game. 10 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, 1.5 assists per game, 0.9 steals per game. 44.3% FG, 39.9% 3PT on 3.4 attempts per game, 55.3% True Shooting.

Contract status

Williams will be a restricted free agent on July 1. The Bulls can match any offers he receives after they perform the formality of presenting him his qualifying offer of $12.9 million.

Season review

Like most of the Bulls, Williams got off to a poor shooting start. That he raised his 3-point percentage to essentially 40 percent on the same volume as his previous season---where he shot 41.5 percent---should cement Williams’ floor as a 3-and-D player moving forward. He’s a legitimate 3-point threat.

In an attempt to get Williams going, coach Billy Donovan moved him to the second unit briefly. That placed Williams in more pick-and-roll situations, although, somewhat surprisingly, it didn’t raise his usage rate.

Williams played well in his return to the starting lineup in December. Over 14 games, he averaged 14.1 points while shooting 52.1 percent, including 50 percent from 3-point range. He even averaged over 4 rebounds over his 33 minutes, checking in at 4.4 in a department that never has been his strong suit.

Williams also continued to show defensive versatility, accepting a wide variety of positional assignments. But the fact that surgery has ended two of his four NBA seasons prematurely continues to raise questions about Williams’ promise versus production; he has played just 213 games over four seasons.

A look ahead

Williams is expected to make a full recovery from the left foot surgery he underwent in February well in advance of training camp. Which team’s training camp that is remains to be seen.

Before last season, Williams turned down what sources at the time indicated was a four-year, roughly $64 million offer, though it’s unknown if that represented a final offer or part of ongoing negotiations. Sources at that time indicated that Williams’ side sought a deal in the vicinity of De’Andre Hunter’s four-year, $90 million deal but might’ve accepted $20 million annually.

Either way, those negotiations offer a window into what should be a fascinating restricted free agency. The Bulls have said publicly multiple times that they hope to re-sign Williams.

Here’s what Williams said about his future: “I think I could really be a cornerstone piece for this team. But you never know what the future holds, and I understand it’s a business. Like I said, I love it here. I love the team. I love the guys. I love the front office.”

Williams turns 23 in August. His floor at this point seems to be a “3-and-D” piece. His ceiling? Who knows. Some observers believe he’d be better served playing small rather than power forward, particularly given his sporadic rebounding issues.

Williams represents this management’s team first draft pick, although management also is on record as saying “everything is on the table” this offseason in an attempt to improve the team. The safe guess is that Williams returns, but, as usual, questions remain.

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