Just months after many wondered who exactly he was, Williams has proven to make a genius out of Vice President Arturas Karnisovas, who drafted him fourth overall in the 2020 NBA Draft.
The first-year forward out of Florida State is just 19 years old, having never started in college, but proving he belongs. Williams is averaging 10.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 47 percent from the field.
While doing a little bit of everything, Williams has become one of the better defenders on the Bulls. He’s able to lock down multiple positions. One recent example was just a few days ago when he was switched onto Chris Paul at the top of the key. Williams played him close and tough, and ended up forcing an air ball out of one of the best point guards of all-time.
To go along with his defense and overall hustle, Williams has become a strong three-point shooter, putting it through at a 39 percent clip in his first year as a pro.
The NBA Rising Stars Roster: U.S. Team ?
? Zion Williamson
? LaMelo Ball
? Anthony Edwards
? Tyrese Haliburton
? Tyler Herro
? De’Andre Hunter
? Keldon Johnson
? Ja Morant
? Michael Porter Jr.
? James Wiseman pic.twitter.com/HYcArt6D4i
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 3, 2021
So, why wasn’t he chosen to be part of the 2021 NBA Rising Stars Game?
If selected, Williams would be on the U.S.A. side, of course. That team includes the likes of sophomores Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, Michael Porter Jr., Tyler Herro, De’Andre Hunter and Keldon Johnson — all of whom are having better statistical seasons than Williams.
It would be a difficult argument to place Williams above any of those guys.
The rookies making the roster included the obvious locks like LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Halliburton and Anthony Edwards, who are the top three competing for this year’s Rookie of the Year title.
The only other rookie on that side of the game is Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman, whose numbers are very, very close to Williams’.
Wiseman is posting 11.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc.
You could argue that Williams has been the better all-around player and I don’t think anyone would call you out on it. But, Wiseman’s season has been just a tad better in terms of box score production. The fact that he’s the more recognizable name, too, makes it easier to put him in the game.
It’s tough to see Williams get snubbed, especially since he’s been such a big part of the Bulls’ turnaround in 2021. But, I’m sure we’re in for many more years of strong play out of Williams. He’ll get the attention he deserves, eventually. For now, he and the Bulls can continue to focus on making this playoff push.