Bulls

Bulls Require a Super Saiyan to Beat Bucks

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Full disclosure: I grew up a diehard Dragonball Z fan and still love the anime series to this day.

In the series, one of the most popular character arcs is that of “Teen” Gohan. For those unfamiliar with the series, Gohan had one of the most epic “realization of power” moments when he temporarily surpassed his father Goku. It was the culmination of years seeing only brief flashes of excellence from the character.

What does any of this have to do with the Chicago Bulls and Patrick Williams? It’s time for Patrick’s “Gohan” moment.

Room for Dessert

With the Bulls behind the Milwaukee Bucks 0-1, now would be the perfect time for Williams to have his coming-out party. Williams was drafted as the fourth-overall pick in 2020, amongst the likes of Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball. At the time of the pick, many Bulls fans went from confused as to who Patrick was, to angry that he was picked ahead of Tyrese Haliburton.

One could understand why fans would be upset; the team already had two young frontcourt players in Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. “Why draft another young frontcourt player?”, is what they were saying.

Williams came into the league after his lone season at Florida State, averaging 9.2 points, 4.0 rebounds. 1.0 steal and 1.0 block per game, leading Bulls fans to further question the first pick of new head men Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley.

Williams didn’t have the luxury of playing in Summer League ahead of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, so his first real action since being drafted was in the 2020-21 preseason. Despite it being his first action in a Bulls jersey, the preseason served as an appetizer to Bulls fans hungry to see what assortment of weapons he had in his arsenal.

Fans starving for the main course to come in year one left the table disappointed, as Williams’ entire first season played like a night at TGI Fridays– endless appetizers. Williams would disappear for long stretches and constantly defer to the team’s veterans.

Like most normal rookies, Williams was trying to avoid stepping on toes, resulting in games with comically low field-goal attempts for a player with his offensive capabilities. Williams would go into the offseason following his rookie year and finally get his opportunity to play in Summer League.

And that is where “Summer League Pat” was born.

The Return of the Paw

Williams came into the 2021-22 regular season riding high, but after the first four games, it was clear “Appetizer Pat” had returned. Williams had only attempted 18 field goals going into the October 28th matchup against the Knicks. In typical fashion, Patrick started the game by being passive, but at some point in the third quarter, either his teammates or coaches got in his ear, because he began playing with more intensity.

That intensity led to Mitchell Robinson defending an aggressive dunk attempt by Williams, causing him to land on his wrist and be declared out for the remainder of the season. Or was he…

Outside of the few fans in the Bulls’ Bleacher Report community who obsessively criticize the 20-year-old at every turn, most Bulls fans agree that there is nothing Williams cannot do on a basketball court. He is an ascending defender at multiple positions, can make plays, shoot the midrange, score inside and stretch the floor.

He just hasn’t done it at the clip that could best benefit the Bulls right now.

When Williams returned from what was supposed to be a season-ending injury, the expectation was that he would continue to be passive and defer to his veteran teammates while being a defensive presence. Initially, Williams stayed true to form and gave the Bulls meager production.

Once the calendar turned to the month of April, however, Williams was a different player. His scoring average jumped to 17.0 points per game, mostly aided by the final game of the regular season where he dropped 35 in the absences of both Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.

As the premiere scoring option that night, he did not disappoint.

The Bulls have cooled off considerably since the start of the season. They may only have one more card to play if they want to beat the Bucks.

Some call him Patrick. Some call him The Paw. Whatever you call him, he may need to go Super Saiyan for the Bulls to see beyond the first round.

About Legacy Hughes-Martin

Legacy Hughes-Martin is a regular contributor at The Lead Sports Media. Connect with him about freelance writing, sports (NBA/NFL), anime and professional wrestling on Twitter @deezthemfg or www.instagram.com/DeeZtheMFG.

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