The Chicago Bulls have selected Patrick Williams with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Williams was one of the biggest risers of the NBA Draft process. Initially pegged as far and away the second-best Florida State prospect behind teammate Devin Vassell, Williams has been gaining ground on draft boards for months. This selection is proof of just how much he has impressed the league since the collegiate season ended.
Williams, a 6-foot-8 forward with a 6-11 wingspan, is one of this draft's best athletes. He has all of the tools needed to become a top defender, especially in an NBA increasingly dependent on versatility and switching. That size and athleticism should serve him very well in transition and as a driver. The bulk of his points early on should come at the basket, but he has upside as a ball-handler and creator.
What held Williams back early on was his production in college. Williams did not start at Florida State, and averaged only 9.2 points per game. His efficiency was somewhat pedestrian, and at least the moment, he doesn't project as a particularly strong shooter. His 29-to-50 assist-to-turnover ratio is a glaring red flag. Williams is a project, and many bench players who have been selected this highly, like Marvin Williams and Dion Waiters, never realized their potential. This pick is based on the expectation that Williams will be an exception, and his raw talent suggests that is a serious possibility.
Williams was a surprising choice for the Bulls, but one that makes sense in the context of their roster. In Coby White and Zach LaVine, they have two young guards they'd presumably like to keep. In Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., the same is true up front. They needed a two-way wing, someone to fill the role they originally envisioned for Otto Porter Jr. Their hope is that Williams grows into that role. It will take time, but the upside is there for a Bulls team trying to make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.
NBA Draft Grade: C-
I understand the intrigue, but this is way higher than I would have taken Patrick Williams. He's 6-8, 225. He is big and strong with wide shoulders. He projects to be a 3-and-D guy, but he's not a great shooter yet. And he wasn't even the best 3-and-D player at Florida State this past season -- though he probably has more upside than Devin Vassell. Williams helped himself in the pre-draft process more than anyone else, though, and that wowed people. -- Gary Parrish