Bulls second-year forward Patrick Williams makes Summer League debutJoe Cowleyon August 9, 2021 at 9:52 pm

Patrick Williams gave himself about six days off when the 2020-21 regular season came to a conclusion.

In the eyes of the Bulls forward, that was more than enough for a summer vacation.

Then it was back to the Advocate Center, getting in the lab to once again add more to the game.

Did the second-year Williams look like a finished product in his Summer League debut on Monday? Not even close, and that’s what was scary about it as far as what opponents of the Bulls will have to deal with.

Still only 19, the No. 4 overall pick from the 2020 draft appeared confident in the 94-77 loss to New Orleans, had an improved ball-handling/play-making mentality, and maybe more importantly, was an aggressive presence on the offensive end, having no issues hunting his own shot.

At least in the first half.

The second half was a bit different, and much more frustrating, as Williams got passive, and had serious issues with ball security. Obviously, he’s still a work in progress.

Williams finished with 15 points, but that came on a 6-for-20 shooting game, including putting up 13 shots in the first half. There were only five games all of last season in which Williams shot 13 or more times for an entire contest.

He also had 10 rebounds, but did have five turnovers, as the game got away from the Bulls in the second half.

A second half in which Williams chose to be passenger over driver.

If there was a knock on Williams in his rookie campaign, it was just that. Too much talent to go through too many moments of playing passive basketball.

That was the message from Thad Young to Williams at the end of the season, and even though Young is now a Spur, the message carried weight.

It was Young who told the media of a private discussion he had with Williams at the end of the season, simply asking him, “Do you want to be great?”

“He said, ‘Yes, I do want to be great,’ ” Young said. “He asked, ‘What do I need to do to be great?’ ”

Young pointed out to Williams the regular-season finale in which there was no Zach LaVine or Nikola Vucevic available, and Milwaukee was switching smaller players onto the 6-foot-8 Williams.

Yet, he was accepting of it, rather than demanding the ball in the mismatch.

“If you want to be great that’s what the great players do,” Young said. “They impose their will on the game at all points in the game … he’s shown us and the Bulls fans so much in this first year of what he can be to the point where his standards should be set even higher next year, and he should want to be a top two or three guy on this team next year.”

He looked very much like the top guy in that first half, on both ends of the floor, insisting that the Pelicans made some adjustments on him in the second half, and it’s his job to learn how to adjust to that “on the fly.”

“Fatigue definitely sets in,” Williams said of his performance. “It’s a learning experience for sure. I’m just excited to go back, watch film, and get better.”

As for the rest of the Bulls that could push for a spot on the roster, 2020 second-round pick Marko Simonovic had a few moments, showing a physicality inside the paint on his way to 13 points and five rebounds, while point guard Devon Dotson led the Bulls with 16 points.

Chicago’s own Ayo Dosunmu, who the Bulls selected in the second round last month, struggled in his debut, going 2-for-8 and finishing with six points.

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