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Report: Bulls’ Patrick Williams expected to miss rest of season with wrist injury

Patrick Williams in New York Knicks v Chicago Bulls

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 28: Patrick Williams #44 of the Chicago Bulls moves against Derrick Rose #4 of the New York Knicks at the United Center on October 28, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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The Bulls were feeling great about their 4-0 start.

But bad news has hit Chicago like ton of bricks.

In the Bulls’ loss to the Knicks last night, starting power forward Patrick Williams injured his wrist.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

What a bummer for Williams and Chicago.

The No. 4 pick in last year’s draft, Williams is the youngest player on the roster. He had a key role – and growth opportunities – on a team built to win now. That was in part because the Bulls prioritized his development, in part because they lack depth at his position.

Though he started, Williams wasn’t in Chicago’s closing lineup. Alex Caruso finished games with the other starters (Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic). Perhaps, the Bulls lean more heavily on that small lineup. But that can be taxing on DeRozan as nominal power forward, whichever of the guards matches up with a bigger small forward and even Vucevic covering the interior with smaller players behind him.

Javonte Green, Troy Brown Jr. and Alize Johnson could get more playing time. Derrick Jones Jr. might join the rotation.

But Chicago just has no good way of replacing the 6-foot-7 Williams’ size, athleticism, defensive tools and spot-up 3-point shooting. Though they can hope Williams returns for the playoffs, the Bulls are less likely to make the postseason without him.

Long term, Williams will also miss opportunities to work on his expanding offensive game. The 20-year-old still has major untapped upside.

This news just stinks in every way.