Patrick Williams wasn’t promoting himself after the draft, he wasn’t promoting himself at the halfway mark of the NBA season, and he wasn’t going to start promoting himself now.
That’s just not how the Bulls rookie forward was wired.
“Not really,” Williams said on Sunday, when asked if grabbing All-Rookie honors would mean something to him. “I don’t really play basketball for the accolades and things like that. I just play because I love to play it. I’ve always been that way. It wouldn’t even really matter to me.”
That might be a good attitude to have, because there’s a chance it won’t have to matter for the No. 4 overall pick.
Williams has some moments since the Bulls had a roster facelift at the trade deadline, but five new players in the mix has seemingly limited the amount of moments he’s now having.
The Florida State product entered the Timberwolves game 10th in scoring (9.7 points per game) for the rookie class, seventh in rebounds (4.7 per) and 10th in steals (0.8 per).
“Like I said, coming in when I was drafted, I just wanted to get better every day,” Williams said, at least admitting that he felt he’s had a good rookie season. “I think I have done that. Just being able to grow, get experience. And just learn from guys like Zach [LaVine] and the rest of the guys on the team. Thad [Young], the vets on the team but also young guys, learned from Coby [White]. Learned from Troy [Brown].
“As long as I’m learning, as long as I’m getting better every day, I feel like that’s a good season from me.”
The one ability that Williams has displayed, however? Availability.
Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball was the runaway Rookie of the Year leader until a season-ending injury put his campaign of hold, making Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards the leader now.
As far as All-Rookie honors, Tyrese Haliburton has been very solid, Immanuel Quickley is still performing, James Wiseman had some great moments before his season was put in jeopardy by a knee injury, as well as the likes of Cole Anthony, Saddiq Bey and a surging Jae’Sean Tate.
The player that hasn’t surprised Williams? Edwards.
While Edwards caught a lot of attention by posterizing Toronto’s Yuta Watanabe with possibly the dunk of the season, Williams has had a good idea of Edwards’ game for quite some time.
“I’ve known him since high school so it was no surprise to me,” Williams said of the dunk. “But of course it was a great play. I’ve seen him do that and more, so it was no surprise to me.
“I know him pretty well. I actually tried to recruit him to Florida State his senior year of high school. I know him pretty well just from playing with him and against him from different camps throughout high school. Of course I watch some of the games they’ve been playing. But I don’t really focus too much on rookies but just watching everybody.”
Bulls big man Nikola Vucevic has always appreciated LaVine’s game from afar, but now that he’s had the opportunity to see it up close and personal, it’s even better than advertised.
“Everything he does just looks so effortless,” Vucevic said. “Even the way he runs, the way he moves, the way he jumps, everything just looks so effortless.
“One thing that really impresses me with him is, he’ll drive at full speed and then like slow down to go to one-two, and then just like bounce off like if he’s bouncing off a trampoline.”