A 2020 NBA re-draft would not go Patrick Williams’ way these days.
Not with a class that’s not only proven to have more depth than originally expected, but one that has already flashed some star power on playoff-bound teams.
Anthony Edwards has proven to be a legit No. 1 overall pick for the Timberwolves, the jury is still out on James Wiseman at two because of injuries, LaMelo Ball has turned the Hornets around going No. 3, and then fourth overall sits Williams.
More tease than franchise changer.
Especially when the likes of Isaac Okoro (5th overall), Tyrese Haliburton (12th overall), Saddiq Bey (19th overall), Precious Achiuwa (20th overall), Tyrese Maxey (21st overall) and Desmond Bane (30th overall) have been doing what they’ve been doing this season.
There’s no knowing if Bane would be “Bane!” with the Bulls, and he was never considered to be a top five pick. But imagine having a shooter like that, as well as a willing defender? There’s a reason Memphis is sitting in second place in the Western Conference and has a 19-2 record when MVP-candidate Ja Morant doesn’t play.
The Bulls, however, don’t have the luxury of playing the what-if game.
They have to do everything they can to turn Williams’ elite raw talent into something that translates on the court. Maybe, just maybe, that happened on Thursday.
It’s easy to lose sight of what the second-year power forward did in the overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers, especially when DeMar DeRozan dropped 50. DeRozan sure didn’t.
While Williams was talking with the media in the postgame, waiting in the wings was DeRozan, who kept yelling “Big three pointer … we don’t win the game without it!” in Williams’ direction.
The veteran wasn’t wrong.
With the Clippers trailing by just one in the overtime and 58 seconds left, Williams let his trademark rainbow-arc shot go from deep in the corner, as his three felt like a dagger for the visiting team. DeRozan finished the OT with 10 points, but Williams had five, and more importantly was in the game at closing time.
Not bad for a guy that without prompting admitted to being late for the morning shootaround and getting fined for it.
“I’m not sure if you guys know, but I was also late to shootaround this morning,” Williams told the media. “I had missed some of the film session. I felt like I let the guys down.”
“Just being 20 [years old],” Williams said.
Obviously, not his only 20-year-old moment of the day, as DeRozan was shocked that Williams pulled back the curtain on his tardiness to the public. Locker room business is like the first two rules of “Fight Club” – it is not to be discussed to the outside world.
“Damn, who said that?Hesaid that?” a surprised DeRozan said, after he was asked about Williams showing up late. “I gotta tell him not to say that to the media. He’s tripping.”
In just his seventh game back from wrist surgery, Williams will earn a pass as long as he continues playing with the aggressiveness he did against the Clippers. The problem is he’s been here before, saying all the right things about looking for his shot and trying to impact the game. It’s time for action, not words.
“The guys challenged me,” Williams said of his halftime adjustment. “From the top, Coach Billy challenged me to be aggressive when I get the ball because they were trapping DeMar and Zach [LaVine]. They showed trust in me so I had to show trust in those situations. I wanted to pretty much answer the challenge and step up to the plate.”
That sounded like a No. 4 overall pick … finally.