Chicago Bulls

Will the Chicago Bulls roll of the dice on top-five pick Patrick Williams pay off?

Going into the 2020 NBA Draft, it was a unanimous belief that the draft truly started at pick No. 4 and the Chicago Bulls.

Knowing that Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman and LaMelo Ball were going to go in some order in the top three, that left the Bulls with the first decision that would have any sort of a surprise factor.

Who would they take - the star International forward Deni Avdija? College basketball's best player this past season in Obi Toppin? There were even a couple playmakers available on the board in Tyrese Haliburton or Killian Hayes, which many felt fit an immediate need for the franchise.

With the fourth pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select... Patrick Williams from Florida State University.

Williams was a player who's name had a major snowball affect from the time the NCAA cancelled its season back in March until the NBA Draft in November. The 6-foot-8, 225-pound wing has all the potential in the world with a body that's ready for the league and he clearly showcased that during pre-draft workouts to go from a fringe-lottery pick to the No. 4 selection.

Williams was the second-youngest player in the draft class, just turning 19 years old in August. The combination of his athleticism, length, size and versatility makes him the perfect prospect for today's switchy, run-and-gun NBA.

But as far as on-court production goes, Williams was far from the most decorated player selected in the draft, showing the Bulls elected to go with physical attributes over statistics.

Williams came off of the bench in all 29 games he played during his one and only season at Florida State. Averaging 9.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.0 blocks per game with .459/.320/.838 shooting splits, a stat line that doesn't typically scream top-five pick.

In fact, Williams became the first player in college basketball's shot clock era (1985-86) to be selected in the top-five without averaging double digits in scoring the season prior to entering the draft.

His numbers aren't eye-popping and he wasn't a starter but he was great off the bench, earning the Atlantic Coast Conference's Sixth Man of the Year. And the No. 4 overall pick feels as though his role in college will work for the better toward his NBA career.

"It just taught me to do my part and do it well," Williams said in his post-draft media availability. "In the NBA it's all about roles. Everybody can't be a LeBron James from Day 1 or a Michael Jordan from Day 1. So you've got to kind of embrace your role and do your role well and then you're trusted with more."

Typically, a top-five pick will have a starting role on their new franchise. That might not be the case for Williams, who will fight for minutes with the likes of Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr. and Thaddeus Young. He's going to have to be flexible in both his position and his role.

"They want me to be what I am, which is versatile," Williams told Chicago media after the draft. "They're going put me in position to be successful. They're going to allow me to guard one through four, one through five possibly. ... The opportunity is there and I am going to embrace it and make the most of it."

Part of what makes this pick such a large risk for the Bulls is there are a number of examples in past NBA Drafts that we've seen forward tweeners like Williams fall through the cracks and never find their footing in the league.

While the other prospects Chicago could've picked also had their flaws, at least there would've been tangible production to point to if it didn't work out. With Williams, they're swinging for the fences in hoping to hit on the league's next great versatile wing.

" I just know my dreams are bigger than draft night," Williams stated. "I think I'd rather show what those dreams are rather than tell you."

If Williams polishes his all-around skillset to match the ceiling his physical attributes give him, the Bulls certainly won't regret rolling the dice on draft night. Only time will tell if it was a reach or worth the risk.

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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