Williams urged to channel aggression to fulfil NBA potential


Chicago Bulls power forward Patrick Williams has been urged to unlock his full potential by increasing his aggression on-court to help the Bulls become an attacking force to be reckoned with.

The call comes as a play during the Bulls’ victory over Orlando Magic is viewed by many as being symptomatic of how his lack of aggression is hindering his game. Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine passed to Williams, but instead of taking advantage of the chance to score a 3-pointer, he elected to give the ball to center Nikola Vucevic, who scored.

DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine scored 32 points apiece in the victory with Nikola Vucevic scoring 26 points and 13 rebounds. Williams chipped in with 16 points and six rebounds, shooting 59.3%. His teammates are hoping to encourage him to achieve more by channelling his aggression and taking on more shots, often by adopting combative measures.

Cruel to be kind

LaVine’s reaction to the play did not escape the attention of those watching at home as he screamed at Williams for not taking advantage of the opportunity. It is not the first time Williams, also known as The Paw, has been on the receiving end of his teammates’ anger. Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan recently revealed that he regularly urges Williams to improve his game: “I think you all don’t see how much I get on his nerves. Like, really get on his nerves. If he plays bad or doesn’t compete like the way I know he can compete, it’s verbal abuse.”

But DeRozan was keen to emphasize that the comments directed at Williams come from a loving place as his teammates are fully aware that he is not yet demonstrating his full ability. But if his fellow players can offer him active encouragement, it can help both Williams and the Bulls at a difficult time.

A disappointing season for the Bulls

With the team struggling this season, the Bulls would certainly benefit from Williams reaching his full potential. But anyone who thinks the Bulls could still spring a surprise this season should be aware that Illinois sportsbooks such as DraftKings, BetMGM and FanDuel provide the opportunity to bet on all major US sports including the NBA, as well as having a range of markets for each of these. New players can benefit from welcome bonuses and features such as ongoing promos and live streaming. Still, the chances of the Bulls winning the title this season are extremely remote.

But if Williams is able to apply himself this season, the Bulls could be much better equipped next time around. Bulls coach Billy Donovan has recognized that Williams has steadily improved over the past year and at the age of 21, the power forward can be given some leeway in what is just his second NBA season in Illinois. He was also hampered by a wrist injury last season, resulting in a months-long layoff which meant he played just 17 times for the Bulls.

Room for improvement

Donovan now expects to see Williams improve in terms of increasing his consistency as a rebounder. An aspect highlighted when Williams was recently left to rue a missed rebound against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The coach has also highlighted getting to the free-throw line another area of advancement on the journey to becoming an elite scorer. The Bulls want to extend his stay in Illinois as a vote of confidence in his ability.

As far as Williams is concerned, he accepts that he needs to progress in the game and it is the scope for improvement that drew him to basketball in the first place. His recent comments in which he emphasized that he can show what he is capable of by putting in hard work, suggest he is learning from the dedication of DeMar DeRozan. But the 21-year-old is not short of confidence, stating that he believes he has the potential to make it as a superstar with the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.

One area Williams is struggling with is properly celebrating after making a shot. He revealed DeRozan, teammate and mentor to many young players, has been encouraging him to celebrate in style. Although Williams did perform a victory salute after scoring against Orlando Magic, when he was back in team training in Illinois, Williams said that his reticence is due to the awkward feeling caused by exuberant celebrations.

We are clearly yet to see the best of Patrick Williams. The power forward has the potential to become one of the best in the NBA. Over time, we might even see him develop his very own celebration. He certainly has the right teammates to bring him out of his shell!

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