Patrick Williams swears he was nervous the night time earlier than his (preseason) NBA debut.
“Final night time was simply,” Williams mentioned, pausing, smiling. “Lot of ideas, lot of ideas.”
You’d by no means know that from watching him Friday. Williams offered the silver lining for a moribund Bulls efficiency, notching 12 factors and three rebounds whereas capturing 5-for-9 from the sector. The pre-sleep dose of Jay Z and Drake he mentioned he used to calm himself labored to a tee.
So, too, did the recommendation of head coach Billy Donovan, who mentioned after morning shootaround the most important factor he needed to see from Williams in his first sport motion was for the rookie to “be himself,” and play easy and unselfish, but aggressive, basketball.
“He (Donovan) simply form of advised me to play my sport,” Williams mentioned. “In fact you’re going to be nervous. However don’t go on the market and attempt to do one thing you can’t do or that’s out of your character.
“Belief your expertise, belief your intuition. That form of helped me calm down for positive. Nerves, they have been there in the start. So for a coach to say simply loosen up and play your sport and issues will come to you, that simply helped me relax rather a lot.”
Williams mentioned these nerves endured by pregame warmups: “It was overwhelming. You run out and also you simply begin to assume you’re actually about to play your first NBA preseason sport.”
However his first NBA bucket got here with poise, a pull-up, 22-footer over an outstretched Eric Gordon in transition. On the following possession, he drained one other… However shuffled his toes on step one and was whistled for a journey.
“I am undoubtedly not used to it, that’s for positive,” Williams mentioned with amusing when requested how he’s adjusting to the pace of the NBA sport. “It was undoubtedly quick, simply making the precise reads.”
He settled in in the third quarter, the place he scored six of his 12 factors. Two got here off one other pull-up middy. Two got here on a leaning floater after snaring an offensive rebound. And the ultimate two — maybe his most spectacular of the night time — got here by the use of a drive, bump, spin and fading floater over Ben McLemore.
Instructive that on an evening Williams’ major project was to “be himself,” the bag was on show. And, when requested in regards to the shot-making he displayed, he shifted the main focus to his teammates.
“It form of simply made the sport simpler, not only for me, however for my teammates,” Williams mentioned when requested what reduction, if any, his pictures falling offered him. “The protection form of needed to see me as a risk. It wasn’t extra so for me, nevertheless it form of opened up driving lanes for different gamers and issues like that. Me simply being aggressive, all people on the bench, the vets on the bench, and guys which were there, they only saved telling me to be aggressive, search for my spots, take open pictures.”
“He’s a really calm and a quite simple man,” mentioned Wendell Carter Jr. “And once I say easy, I don’t imply that in a foul method. He will get to his spots. He takes his pictures.”
Donovan echoed that sentiment.
“He has a very good really feel for the sport,” Donovan mentioned. “He very, very hardly ever forces pictures. He makes good selections, he’s passer. We tried to place him in some decide-and-roll conditions.
“He’s actually, actually good when he will get into that elbow, paint space the place he can shoot these one-handed lean-in pictures, he’s excellent at that. I assumed he performed very, very nicely contemplating the truth that there was no actual Summer time League or construct as much as coaching camp, and he needed to form of come right here after the draft and form of get began. I assumed he did a very nice job tonight.’’
Williams additionally hung out manning powerful defensive assignments, from John Wall to Eric Gordon, alternatives he relished. He additionally dedicated three turnovers, a product of his creation duties increasing as the sport wore on.
However, fittingly for a 21-level loss that noticed disjointed offense and leaky protection, Williams’ greatest takeaways have been that of the crew selection.
“It was a very good expertise,” Williams mentioned. “I feel I performed OK, I feel me and the remainder of the crew, now we now have movie that we are able to watch and issues we are able to get higher at.”
That course of now begins in earnest. One other date with the Rockets looms.
“It was undoubtedly useful for us in the long term,” Williams mentioned of going through reside competitors. “Now we obtained movie that we are able to go over, get again in the gymnasium tomorrow and proper some issues and return at it Sunday.”