Chicago Bulls: A recap on the rookie year of Patrick Williams

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Now that the Chicago Bulls season is done, it’s important to look back on the development over the first year of their new starting small forward, Patrick Williams.

Williams, also known as PWill or PDubs, was drafted out of Florida State in the 2020 NBA draft by the Bulls. He was not a highly-touted prospect for the NBA after never starting a game for the Seminoles.

Williams played in 29 games in college and averaged 9.2 points, four rebounds, and one assist per game. He shot just under 46 percent from the field, 35 percent from distance, and 83 percent from the free-throw line. Pretty reputable numbers for a freshman in the ACC.

Williams was clearly athletic and a great defender in college, racking up a steal and a block per game.

Scouts thought he might have gone too early in the draft, knowing that Deni Avidja could be a better option for the #3 position because he has been playing professionally since he was 16-years old.

Chicago Bulls rookie Patrick Williams had a standout year, despite some skepticism.

“For me, it’s more mental than anything,” said Williams. “I have to learn how to control my mentality and to really dial in 100 percent mentally. I think that will make me the player that I want to be and that I need to be. I want to be known as one of the greats in this league.”

Let’s check out his improvement from both sides of the court.


If you watched Williams play in the preseason games against the Houston Rockets, you saw a frightened 19-year old kid out there.

Williams had no confidence in his ability to shoot the ball and his conservative play became utterly useless for the Bulls early on.

Clearly, his effort and hustle on defense were always there, trying to help the team in any way he could. But, he failed to participate in the game when the team needed him.

That fear did not last long.

Williams scored 16 points in his first game against the Atlanta Hawks, shooting 5/11 from the field and 5/6 from the charity stripe.

By the end of the season, he had more confidence in his shot and his ability to drive the basket. He averaged 9.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in his first season, nearly identical to his college stats.

Williams was also extremely efficient, something head coach Billy Donovan tipped his cap to Williams for.

He shot 48.3 percent from the floor, 39.1 percent from downtown, and 72.8 percent from the free-throw line. The 50/40/90 club is definitely in Williams’s future.

His efficiency while on the floor is not great, recording a 105 average offensive rating and a -2.7 offensive box plus/minus, but that will improve.

Either way, Williams was a great pick for the Bulls and has superstar potential in the league.


There isn’t much negative to say about Williams’s defense. He stepped into the role of taking on the toughest matchups for the Bulls this season and is one of the best defenders.

He guarded guys like LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Kawhi Leonard last season.

His huge build, 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, really helped him facing tougher opponents. His on-ball defense and shot contests are excellent, a real treat to Bulls’ fans this season.

He recorded a zero in the defensive box plus/minus category this season, an outstanding mark for a rookie with the matchups he gets every game.

He also led the team in defensive win shares this season with 2.2, tied with Thaddeus Young.

Next. Chicago Bulls: Player grades for the 2020-2021 season. dark

Williams’s defense does not need much explanation. The Bulls seriously needed a true defensive player to take on teams’ better players, and now he’s the one to do it.