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Closing Five: Patrick Williams isn't 'only 20' anymore

Will Gottlieb Avatar
August 26, 2022

We’re in the dead of the offseason and there’s not a whole lot to discuss. But a few things come out related to the Chicago Bulls every week, so I’m going to start putting together a short round up to make sure you have all the info you need from the week.

Here is the Closing Five: A Chicago Bulls week in review:

1. Happy birthday Patrick Williams

On this day, 21 years ago, Patrick Williams was born. He’s not “only 20” anymore.

Matt and Mark have their funny bit arguing the importance of one (1) day on a players development. At the end of the day, it’s just semantics. We’re all arguing the same thing — unlike age, development is non-linear.

Take Isaac Okoro for example, the Cavaliers fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Like Williams, Okoro is a toolsy wing, a top-five pick, and he’s “only 21”. And yet, outside of Cleveland, barely anyone knows who he is. Sure, he’s eight months older than Williams, but is that really enough time to determine whether he’ll ever become good?

I don’t think Okoro can play, but you get the idea. Age is only a piece of the context we need to consider. In turning 21, Williams does not cease to have upside. He has had impressive moments and certainly has fewer holes in his game than Okoro. Williams is further from being a finished product, but he still has to be good, at some point, for that potential to mean anything.

As we wait to see Williams’ game fill out, let’s try to temper our expectations. It’s still only his age 21 season, so if he’s not a superstar a year from today, let’s not abandon ship. I’d hate to see him get the Coby White treatment. After all, White is “only 22”.

2. Random Stat of the Week: DeMar = Good

NBA University continues to churn out these cool graphics. They’re even more cool when they highlight how good a Bulls player is.

For DeMar DeRozan, that is especially the case, who scored, in isolation, on the same level as Luka Doncic, Stephen Curry and better than Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James.

If the Bulls can get back to their incredible fastbreak offense, mix in a bit more three-point shooting, and generally find some easier offense, they’ll have one of the most lethal one-on-one options in their back pocket when things slow down in the playoffs. The recipe is there, just need the pieces to fall into place.

3. Mission Antetokounmpo continues

According to Greek outlet SDNA, the Bulls have interest in Kostas Antetokounmpo, younger brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The young Antetokounbro has played only 87 minutes in 22 NBA games. He did put up some numbers in the G League back in 2019-20 where he averaged 14.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game shooting 61.8 percent from the field. He’s a non-shooter who, at 24 years old, is still very much a work in progress. But the Bulls need all the athletic big wing help they can get. So is this pandering to the two-time MVP? Maybe. But he could also be a good two-way or Exhibit 10 player for training camp.

4. Kevin Durant saga ends

After a two-month long wait to see if Kevin Durant’s trade demand would come to fruition, the Nets and Durant made amends.

I love the way the Nets went about this chaos. They did their due diligence. They fielded offers, had the right discussions. But ultimately, they did not fall victim and they called Durant’s bluff.

In retrospect, I don’t see how a Durant trade could have happened at this point. With four years left on his deal, the Nets aren’t under any real pressure to move him. Durant can sit out, but who does that help? As good as Durant is, would any team give up assets for a rogue agent they couldn’t count on? The Nets owe all their future picks to the Rockets via the James Harden trade, so they need to be good now so draft picks won’t do them any good. There are very few packages out there that make sense.

I’m still not convinced this whole thing is actually over. Just over for now. With the Nets shutting down conversations (they’re probably not actually shutting them down), offers could improve. With less time on his contract and potentially more turmoil down the road, it feels unlikely Durant finishes his contract with Brooklyn.

Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

5. In other news around the Association

  1. Chet Holmgren out for season: Brutal loss for Holmgren and OKC. I’m still all-in on Holmgren despite the injury. Hopefully he’s able to spend the year developing, building muscle and getting ready to dominate with Victor Wembanyama in 2022-23.
  2. Patrick Beverley Traded to Lakers: Lakers ditch Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson to bring in Beverley — a smart move for a team that absolutely needs to win now. Still funny they chose THT over Alex Caruso. Thanks for that, LA!
  3. Zach LaVine becomes a father: Mazel Tov! What a summer it has been for LaVine and his family.
  4. Don’t even want to entertain this with a bullet, let alone a whole section, but an Anthony Davis for Zach LaVine trade was suggested by an anonymous source to a potentially reputable outlet? Watch the CHGO Bulls show to get our #takes

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