With the number 4 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls selected Patrick Williams, the 6’8” 225 lbs. small forward out of Florida State.
I am very surprised that the Bulls used the 4th pick overall to select Williams.
Based on what I was seeing on Twitter, and the conversations I was having with other Bulls fans, I know I’m not the only one who was surprised by this pick.
Patrick Williams was projected by most experts to go mid to late 1st round.
You know how every few years in the draft there’s one team that makes a trade or a pick that just seems odd? Two drafts ago it was the weird trade Atlanta made sending Luka Doncic to the Mavs for Tre Young. Well, I think the Bulls are the weird team this year.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that Patrick Williams is a bad player. He seems to be a pretty solid young wing with a lot of potential. He might even turn out to be the best player that was available at number 4 when we inevitably revisit this draft X number of years from now.
Drafting Patrick Williams isn’t the problem, it’s using the 4th pick to draft him that most people see as the problem.
So, I watched the post draft interviews with Patrick Williams and Arturas Karnisovas hoping to understand why the Bulls would use such a high pick on a player they probably could have gotten later in the draft.
The answer, quite simply, was… They like him.
Arturas, Marc Eversley, Billy Donovan, the rest of the Round Table, they like Patrick Williams. The 19 year old fits their vision of the contemporary NBA player. Tall, long, athletic, able to defend multiple positions, able to fill multiple roles on offense, possessing a high basketball IQ-Patrick Williams checks all of those boxes. And there is room for him to grow.
Karnisovas, as we all know, comes from the Denver Nuggets front office, and one of the things they do very well in Denver is take young prospects and, over the course of several seasons, grow them into high level NBA players. I believe that is the plan for Williams. Hell, we’ve been screaming for some player development to happen in this franchise for years, and now that we have a Front Office and coaching staff built to do that, we’re going to bitch about them doing their jobs?
Well I don’t want to bitch about this.
The Bulls are a different organization now. Naturally they are doing things differently than in previous years. The Round Table isn’t chasing the ghost of the Dynasty, they are meticulously building the foundation of a winning franchise, and that means we the fans are going to have to be patient for a little while longer.
The Bulls had 22 wins in a Covid shortened season this past year. They had 22 wins in the 2018-19 season, and it was 27 wins in 2017-18. They aren’t as close to the playoffs as we would like to think. They don’t need a win now fix, they need to develop the talent on the roster, and that means it’s going to take more time.
In his post draft interview, Arturas pointed to Williams’ “willingness to learn” as one of the important factors that led to the Bulls drafting such an unlikely 4th overall. Karnisovas also clarified that they never looked to move up in the draft, but they did call other front offices around the league to see what was what. Doing their “due diligence” as he said. Arturas pointed out that this draft was very volatile, with many franchises having wildly different views about the same player. I’m guessing the Round Table didn’t want to risk trading down only to have Williams snatched up by a team a spot or two ahead of them, so they just took him with the 4th pick.
In some ways I admire the conviction of the Round Table to draft Williams as high as they did. Yes, today they are the weird team of the draft, but they also came away with the player they wanted. They didn’t have to compromise and take the 2nd or 3rd name on their draft board. They took the best available player in their calculated opinion.
With the 44th pick in the draft, the Chicago Bulls selected Marko Simonovic, the 21 year old 6’ 11” center from Montenegro. Simonovic is a “draft and stash,” meaning he will play in Europe for at least another season before the Bulls ask him to come play in the NBA. From the draft reports I’ve read and the few highlight videos I’ve watched, Simonovic appears to be another versatile prospect with a well rounded game. More than that I cannot say.
I’m no draft expert, and I’m not a great talent evaluator, but I’m happy with this draft. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the business of basketball, wanting to hoard “assets,” or maximize the value of a pick or a player. I just want the Bulls to win. And if Patrick Williams is one of the guys that makes that happen, well then I know this was a good draft.
That’s all for now. I’ll have more thoughts on Williams in future posts, but we must quickly transition to thoughts of free agency which officially starts tomorrow, Friday, November 20th, but in many ways has already begun.
Until next time, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!