(670 The Score) The Bulls selected Florida State forward Patrick Williams with the No. 4 overall pick in the NBA Draft on Wednesday night.
Williams, 19, is the second-youngest player in this draft class. He played just one season for the Seminoles and earned ACC Sixth Man of the Year honors after averaging 9.2 points and 4.0 rebounds in 22.5 minutes per game while coming off the bench in all 29 games he played.
Williams worked out and interviewed with the Bulls in the pre-draft process, but he kept that information under wraps in a media session with reporters last week. Despite that secrecy, he generated a great deal of buzz in the days just before the draft, with the Pistons also expressing great interest, according to multiple reports. The Pistons inquired about trading with the Hornets to move into the No. 3 spot but didn't get a deal done, per reports.
For his part, Williams wasn't sure why he skyrocketed up draft boards late, but he was happy to land with the Bulls. Williams is 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, and it's that size and his athleticism that was part of the allure for the Bulls. Those traits give him the ability to play either forward spot and guard multiple positions, which is vital in a switch-heavy NBA.
"They're kind of leaning on me to be what I am -- which is versatile," Williams said. "In talking to them, they're going to put me in different positions to be successful at different positions. They're going to allow me to guard one through four, one through five possibly ... The opportunity is mine. The opportunity is there, and I'm just going to embrace and make the most of it."
Williams shot 32% on 3-pointers in his lone college season, which he'll need to improve to fulfill the Bulls' vision. What's promising in that regard is that he shot free throws well (83.3%), which is often a sign that a player's perimeter shooting will improve. Williams isn't a shot creator for others, recording just 29 assists against 50 turnovers last season, so he'll need to grow a lot to become a secondary playmaker. Williams' strength helps him get to the rim, where he has the potential to be a strong finisher.
Asked what position he's most comfortable in, Williams responded "wherever they put me." He believes he can contribute as a role player quickly and cited coming off the bench at Florida State as a learning experience.
“It just taught me how to do your part – whatever your part is, whether that’s coming off the bench or whether that’s starting and playing big minutes, it just taught me to do my part and do it well,” Williams said. “Coming off the bench and not starting, with (getting) maybe 12 minutes (initially), I think you see that I did well that 12 minutes and then toward the end of the season, those minutes increased. And I kind of just embraced that role. In the NBA, it’s all about roles. Everybody can’t be a LeBron James from Day 1 or a Michael Jordan from a Day 1. You got to embrace your role and do your role well, then you’re trusted with more.”
Williams represented the first draft selection and player acquisition of the new Bulls regime that's led by Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley.
"They're definitely headed in the right direction, with the guys they've got coming back and then the vets they already had there," Williams said. "It can only get better, for sure. I just want to do my part to help the franchise get better and reach our goals."
With their second-round pick at No. 44 overall, the Bulls selected 6-foot-11 center Marko Simonivic, a 21-year-old from Montenegro who appears to fit the bill as a draft-and-stash player. He played in Serbia and Slovenia in recent seasons. The thought process behind the pick is that the Bulls already have 13 guaranteed contracts for a 15-man roster. Retaining wing Denzel Valentine, whom the Bulls extended a qualifying offer, would bring their roster to 14.
Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.