For the first time in his young career, Patrick Williams is on the other side of it.
In the film room rather than on the court.
Understanding how the scouting reports are being put together rather than simply reading them.
The hope for the Bulls and coach Billy Donovan is the injured power forward comes out of it having a better understanding of the mental part of the NBA game. Time will tell.
“In talking to him a little bit it’s opened up some things for him – being a young player – to see,” Donovan said on Sunday. “I’m not saying he’s presenting scouting reports to the team, but he’s back there in the video room with the video guys, he’s getting a chance to doing a lot of that film work. In talking to him about that perspective it’s a lot different than being out there on the floor because it’s a lot slower when you’re watching it on film and you can break it down. We’ve tried to keep him engaged that way and he’s done a really good job.”
As far as a more detailed timeline on Williams returning from left wrist surgery, those goal posts haven’t moved one way or the other. He was expected to miss the regular season, and until he gets deeper into the actual rehabilitation process there are still unknowns.
Could he be back for a playoff run or even earlier? Donovan isn’t into making predictions.
“He’s got the cast off, he’s obviously doing a lot of rehab to regain some strength in his forearm and his wrist,” Donovan said. “The surgery was incredibly detailed in terms of what he had done, so it was really critical that he didn’t do anything with that hand [initially]. He did a good job and he’s progressing. Now the next step is getting back his range of motion, getting back his strength.”
Williams’ loss to the injury back in late October was obviously a huge gut-punch to the former fourth-overall pick and the franchise.
He represented the first pick of the new-look Arturas Karnisovas regime, and really flashed his rookie season as a legit two-way player. Williams did look tentative in the five regular season games he did play in before suffering the injury, but considering the massive roster flip the Bulls underwent that was almost expected.
What will be interesting for the Bulls if Williams can make it back late in the season or for the playoffs is how much would they use him? Unless a deal is made by the Feb. 10 trade deadline, Williams gives the Bulls their best option at the four, especially from a size standpoint.
On the other hand, the chemistry with him sidelined has been stellar, so how much do they want to mess with that?
It’s a problem, however, that both Donovan and Williams hope they have to figure out.
Donovan did have some good news on the injury front, as the testing numbers for Alex Caruso to get out of the health and safety protocols continued going in the right direction, and the team was hoping for a clearer timetable on Monday, when Caruso is scheduled to test again.
As far as Javonte Green (groin) and Tyler Cook (left ankle sprain)? Not as promising a forecast, according to the coach.
“Javonte is progressing, he’s getting better, but I think he’s still weeks away,” Donovan said. “Tyler is at least walking and moving around now, but I’d say he’s still a couple weeks away from being available.”