Bulls

Williams developing 'stone cold' reputation on court

Bulls

Not much fazes Patrick Williams.

A dagger 3-pointer to cap a 25-point comeback against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday? The 19-year-old went deadpan.

How about a 52-foot heave to beat the third quarter buzzer in Saturday's win over the Sacramento Kings?

"It was a 3," Williams said after the game, face straight as an arrow. "I've made 3s before."

In fact, the most emotion Williams flashed the entire night was when, as he answered a question regarding Zach LaVine's All-Star candidacy, LaVine leered over him, light-heartedly prodding the rookie.

"We'll have to see," Williams said, with the slightest of smirks, when asked what it would take for him to emote during a game. "I'm not really sure."

“It’s just the type of person I am, off the court as well," Williams said of where his even keel. "I can’t really explain it. That’s just who I am and how I am.”

LaVine was quick to provide a fact-check on that.

"Only on the court he doesn’t show emotion. It’s crazy," he said of Williams. "Off the court, he’s goofy as ever. Asks a lot of questions, jokes around, laughs a lot, always wants the older guys in the locker room to tell stories about the NBA and stuff."

 

"On the court, he’s just stone cold, straight-faced. That’s just his personality."

And it's served Williams well amid a breakneck transition to the pros. Without the benefit of a full training camp or preseason, he's started 28 of the Bulls' 29 regular-season games (missing one due to injury). He's taken on elite defensive assignments and weathered up-and-down stretches like a seasoned vet.

On Saturday, he posted his second career double-double and his career-high in rebounds (11) in his eighth game starting in the injured Lauri Markkanen's place at power forward. On Monday night in Houston, he's on pace to play his 29th NBA game, equal to what he played in one year at Florida State.

"The body's good. I've kind of learned to get myself on a daily schedule, just of rehabbing, making sure that your body's good, even if it's not hurting, and if there is something hurting, just taking care of that," Williams said. "Making sure that you’re trying to be as close to 100% to be out there doing your job each and every night."

And of the NBA's whirlwind schedule, which has the Bulls amid a 17-games-in-31-days stretch: "Energy is completely mental."

Does that sound like the youngest player in the NBA to you?

Well, Williams is. The tools and varied skill set he's flashed, combined with his steely mentality and eagerness to learn, have to have the Bulls and their fanbase excited about his future.

For Williams, it's on to the next game.

"I’m in this league as a rookie, and the one thing I don’t have is experience," he said. "It’s good to know that it’s coming each and every day or every other day."

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