Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
NBA teams typically go as far as their starpower takes them.
But that doesn't mean this isn't an important season for forward Patrick Williams. In fact, during his appearance on the Bulls Talk Podcast from Bulls Fest outside the United Center over the weekend, Bulls general manager Marc Eversley detailed what he wants to see from the fourth-year forward.
"He has shown flashes over the first three years. I want to see him show more instances of flashes, more consistent," Eversley said on the podcast. "He’s got it in him. A lot of that comes with growth off of the court. And I can tell you he’s starting to grow. He’s starting to get it. It’s starting to click. And when he puts it together—and he will put it together---we might have something special."
Williams played all 82 games for the first time last season, averaging in double figures also for the first time. That he played all 82 games carried even more weight after he lost most of his second season to wrist surgery. Williams also shot 41.5 percent as he pushed his 3-point attempts over 3 per game for the first time in his young career, averaging 3.4.
But some of Williams' impact came when coach Billy Donovan moved him to the second unit to pair with Coby White. Williams started 65 games, but Donovan inserted Alex Caruso at power forward after the Bulls added veteran Patrick Beverley from the buyout market.
Time will tell if Donovan and his staff continue to utilize the chemistry that Williams and White enjoyed in reserve roles. But as the fourth overall pick and up for an extension of his rookie contract, Williams at some point may need to make consistent impact as a starter.
Before he moved into a reserve role, Williams said he became more comfortable figuring out how to stay aggressive playing alongside stars in Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic. But if Donovan and his staff choose to start Williams this season, that education needs to continue.
"I think it’s a really important year for Patrick, one as a player and two as somebody in our locker room to kind of complement those guys. We’ve talked a lot about people fitting in with those three. I think Patrick is going to be challenged with the same thing," Eversley said. "But I think this year is the year where he really needs to step it up and figure it out."