Chicago Bulls: Why Patrick Williams was a better pick than Anthony Edwards

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Fans may not truly understand the Patrick Williams pick, but the Chicago Bulls went the smart route.

Going into the 2020 NBA Draft, no one knew exactly what the Chicago Bulls were going to do. The first three picks went seemingly as planned, and then it was up to the Bulls to make it interesting.

At no. 4 overall, Arturas Karnisovas went with Florida State forward Patrick Williams. He is a name that was mentioned in connection with the Bulls earlier this week, but the average basketball fan wasn’t too familiar with this kid.

After all, one of the first things you’ll hear about Williams is that he didn’t even start for the Seminoles last year. He was a freshman who rose and impressed as the season went on, and became a big-time prospect closer to the draft.

In his only collegiate season at Florida State, Williams averaged 9.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block and 1.0 assist in just over 22 minutes.

At 6-foot-8, Williams presents the Bulls with exactly what they have lacked for a few years — a strong perimeter defender on the wing. Williams can guard multiple positions and works harder than anyone. He’s tireless in his efforts.

In fact, during his first press conference with ESPN, Williams mentioned several times how his hard work is the main reason why he will be successful as a pro. He pointed to the fact that, if he works the hardest, he has no other outcome other than to be successful.

When you watch his college tape, the term “worker” certainly describes his game. He pops off the screen each time you see him play. Williams is always the hardest worker on the court. He’s all over the place. He’ll guard anyone, challenge anyone on a rebound and he will undoubtedly go up and block anyone’s shot, regardless of how big they are. Oh yeah, and the kid can fly.

Looking at the three guys drafted before Williams, you could use the term “potential” with any of them. Specifically, Georgia’s Anthony Edwards showed us a lot of potential. The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted themselves quite the athlete who can attack the hoop and throw down.

But, there is one major difference between a kid like Edwards versus the Bulls’ draftee, Williams. That falls in the category Williams mentioned multiple times — hard work.

Edwards’ biggest knock, going into the draft, is whether or not he actually loved the game of basketball. Plenty was made about whether he had the drive to be a great pro; whether he would work hard to become the best he could possibly be.

When asked about his love for the game, Edwards responded that he was “not really into” basketball. The full conversation was absolutely a red flag when it comes to Edwards, but he still went number one.

Is Edwards a natural talent? Sure. But, the Bulls’ pick of Williams could end up being an even better one than Minnesota taking Edwards, and it’s strictly based off of which of these players will have the drive, the passion and the work ethic to practice and play with enough drive. We know Williams’ calling card. It’s hard work. It’s defense. It’s doing all of the little things to help his team win.

Speaking of which, if you compare the two, Edwards’ defensive rating last year was 103.6 while Williams’ was an impressive 94.1 — almost a 10-point difference. That’s incredible.

Actually, let’s look at the other side of the ball, shall we?

Looking at their offensive rating (points score or points attributed to per 100 possessions), Edwards sits at 105.8 last year. Williams’ offensive rating came in at 106.9.

Very interesting, isn’t it? Between every little thing Williams does, he graded out as a better player on offense and defense.

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This isn’t just an opinion. Williams very well could be a better pro than Edwards. For the Bulls, he’s a much better pick and fit than Edwards would have been. What a bold pick by Karnisovas, but it should pan out to be an excellent decision.