Of all his Chicago Bulls teammates, Patrick Williams has the most to prove.
The 20-year-old has flashed enough potential to keep Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley on the hook. But not enough to earn the benefit of the doubt from the viewing public at large.
So it should come as no surprise, then, that Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report flagged him as the weakest link in the team’s prospective starting lineup for next season.
Hughes acknowledges the former fourth-overall pick’s potential is “immense.” But he points to Williams' warts on the offensive side of the ball as the reason behind him being singled out.
“Williams isn't yet capable of generating good shots on his own,” said Hughes, who also deemed the Bulls to have a below-average starting five a week ago. “Any time the forward tries to create his own looks, it's a victory for the defense.”
To that end, Hughes is right.
Through his first two seasons, the most recent of which was undercut by injury, Williams has averaged no more than .600 points per possession in isolation per Synergy Sports. Though it’s important to remember he only has 14 of those plays under his belt.
That’s the gift and the curse of playing alongside Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic. He’ll be spoon-fed more often than not. Perhaps to the detriment of his own hunter-gatherer instincts.
But if Patrick Williams is the starter whom opposing defenses choose to ignore next season, as Hughes suggests, he needn’t reinvent the wheel to move the Chicago Bulls forward.
He just has to catch up to his own potential.