October 4, 2022

Every offseason, I tell myself not to let random images of an open gym influence my perception of a player. And every off-season… I fail.


Just kidding (a little), but the latest images of Patrick Williams are damn hard not to drool over. The Chicago Bulls third-year forward recently participated in a scrum led by basketball coach Olin Simplis (aka The Guard Whisperer). Guarded by Evan Mobley — the Cavaliers’ No. 3 pick in 2021 — Williams sank impressive shot after impressive shot. For a player the Bulls encouraged to increase offensive aggression, those clips were hugely encouraging.

Check out some of the highlights below:

I mean, did you see those step backs!? And doesn’t that sweater look pure!?

Pair that footage with what we saw on Patrick Williams’ Drew League debut earlier this summer, and it’s hard not to think the 20-year-old has been working hard on his grips. While he’s never been a particularly bad ball handler (in fact, he’s always been pretty solid for his size), we’ve never seen him move so fluidly or create so much space out of the box. dribble. Could we see the results of the extra work with DeMar DeRozan this summer?

In his first two seasons in the league, Williams relied heavily on his length and superior athleticism to rise above defenders and land his shot. And, to his credit, he did it pretty well. For the Bulls to take the next step this season, however, they need the former No. 4 overall pick to elevate his offensive game. Polishing his footwork and tightening his grip is definitely one way to do just that, as it could give opposing defenses another shot-creator to worry about.

On top of all that, Williams knocked down several shots from long range. I have always expressed my confidence in his ability to become a higher volume 3-point shooter, as he already started his NBA career shooting 41.3% from downtown. Now, of course, that only happened on an average of 1.9 attempts per game, but he still built an encouraging base.

Whether it’s in his Pro-Am races or those open gym clips, Williams also seems to be getting into his shot faster than ever. When we consider the number of times he hesitated or let open 3s pass, increased confidence in his ability to shoot faster could be huge when it comes to increasing his volume. The 3-point range opportunities are going to be there playing alongside guys like Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, and Williams needs to help his team – which averaged the third-under 3PA last season – take advantage of those opportunities.

Look, I know we need to see all of this translate to the NBA court before we get excited. But I also hate when people act like these kinds of footage mean absolutely nothing. These practices are how players improve and add to their game. No one is telling you to make big judgments based on what you see, but it’s fair to rate the movie.

Little things like Williams accelerating his exit or working on a step back are just worth noting. Development isn’t linear, so just because it’s showing these things right now doesn’t mean we’ll see it on opening night. However, who is to say that these are not things that will eventually manifest over time?

That said, I’m just going to post the video before someone else does…

For more highlights (some smart passing and solid finishing), be sure to watch the full video on The Guard Whisper’s YouTube channel below: