On November 18, 2020, the Chicago Bulls held the fourth overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft. They lucked into this pick. They had the seventh-worst record in the NBA and the lottery helped them jump up three spots in the order. This draft had a big three at the top: Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and Lamelo Ball. There was much uncertainty with what direction the Bulls would go at four. After those top three went off the board, the Bulls ended up selecting the young forward out of Florida State, Patrick Williams.
Draft Night Reactions
Many mock drafts had the Bulls selecting Tyrese Haliburton, the combo guard out of Iowa State, Deni Avdija, the versatile forward out of Israel, or even Onyeka Onkongwu, the defensive anchor out of the University of Southern California. Meanwhile, Williams was a late riser in the draft process. Many front office executives were starting to fall in love with the potential that he possessed. He showed the ability to be a defensive stopper and some glimpses of offensive versatility that hinted at him having the potential to become one of the better two-way wings in the league. Most mock drafts still had him sitting in the late lottery due to his inexperience. Williams never started a game at Florida State and only averaged 9.2 points per game.
Immediately after the selection, social media erupted. The Bulls were ridiculed by millions of fans for drafting someone fourth overall who never even cracked his college team’s starting lineup. A lot of analysts did not hate Williams as a player, but most of them just thought that number four was way too high for a player like him.
Where is Williams Now?
Williams’s rookie year is now in the books. He started every single game he appeared in while only missing one game on the season. He started the most games of any Bull due to other starters missing time with various injuries or covid protocols. From never starting a game in college to starting every game he has played in the NBA. He averaged the same 9.2 points per game with the Bulls as he did with Flordia State, but this was against NBA competition. He shot a very encouraging 39.1% from three, albeit on only 1.9 attempts per game.
Many are super excited about his defensive ability and versatility. He guarded the likes of LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant. The Bulls starting lineup is full of, at the very best average defenders, so Williams, a 19-year-old took on the assignment of the opposing team’s best player on most nights.
He has received praise from many of these stars that he has guarded, most notably, James had some kind words to say about Williams. “I think he’s going to be an exceptional talent,” James was quoted. “Long arms. He has Kawhi-type hands that I noticed out on the floor, so I knew I couldn’t play with the ball much. And you could tell that he’s just laser-sharp on trying to get better and better.” This is immensely high praise from a player many consider will go down as the greatest of all time.
Williams has gone from the pick that many thought was the mistake of the draft to a potential star. He may never be a superstar, but he has the likes of someone who will be a great defensive stopper with second or third option of an offense potential. He should be a starter in this league for many years to come.