NBA players. They're just like us.
Asked after debuting at Summer League in Las Vegas his reaction to the Chicago Bulls' active 2021 free-agency period — which featured the additions of DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso — second-year forward Patrick Williams lit up like a Christmas tree.
"I’m excited. I think the whole Chicago Bulls nation is excited," he said with a smile, before quickly course-correcting to add: "I’ve tried to focus on this Summer League team and not get wrapped up in the people we’re getting. But I’m definitely excited to get to work in training camp and work with those guys."
Williams expanded on looking forward to working with DeRozan in particular. Though the transaction has yet to be finalized, the Bulls and Spurs have a sign-and-trade agreement in place that will send Thad Young, Al-Farouq Aminu and a 2025 first-round pick to San Antonio in exchange for the four-time All-Star.
Williams sees a lot in DeRozan's game, and NBA path, that he wishes to emulate.
"He’s a really good wing in this league. Mostly, I want to be at the level that he’s at," Williams said. "When he gets here (to Chicago), I’ll definitely ask him some questions about how he plays in the mid-post and kind of what he sees after an important possession. I’m definitely excited to learn from not only him but everyone else as well."
Williams also mentioned continuing to learn from Zach LaVine and Nikola Vučević. Though neither share Williams' position on the court, each have ascended to All-Star status by consistently improving and building out their offensive arsenals.
DeRozan, meanwhile, excels in a number of areas Williams has professed to value in the past. The 32-year-old has grown into a dynamic, facilitating wing, averaging a career-high 6.9 assists in 2020-21 while oscillating between the small and power forward spots. He's also a sublime shot-creator, particularly in the mid-range, where Williams has displayed a level of comfort early in his NBA career.
If, in addition to helping the Bulls take a step forward as a team, DeRozan can help steward Williams' development, it will be icing on top of the cake.
You can bet Williams won't leave that stone unturned.
"Just asking questions and listen to conversations that he has, not only him but the rest of the guys as well," Williams said. "Just learn from everybody."