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Bulls mailing bag: Worried about Zach LaVine's series Patrick Williams?

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It’s NBA Opening Week, an amazing time for all fans in the NBA, including those with questions like you. And already almost another Patrick Williams edition of the mailing bag.

What will Patrick Williams need to do statistically and/or eye-testing so that fans and the media don’t offer a match-by-match referendum on whether he’s a fiasco? —Mehmet H.

Here’s a dirty little secret: Our game-match referendum doesn’t matter to the franchise. And franchises don’t live and die on a game-by-game basis.

However, Billy Donovan made it pretty clear on media day, at least for me. He said he wanted to see consistent aggression from Williams. That doesn’t mean shooting. This means running hard on the ground in the pass, cutting hard when out of the ball, attacking decisively on a live dribble, sweeping effectively, kicking back strongly, blocking the rebound area and continuing. There are many ways players can influence games without scoring goals. Exhibition A? Alex Caruso.

The Bulls continue to work with Williams to improve this.

I don’t think Patrick Williams can reach his full potential with the fourth option on the team right now. I understood the Nikola Vučević trade because it showed other teams and players in the league that the Bulls are serious about winning. This helped Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso arrive. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, large offers in free agency did. But, yes, the Vučević trade helped.]

Still, I think Artūras Karnišovas may have been in a rush to bring DeMar DeRozan. He clearly exceeded and exceeded everyone’s expectations in being selected to the All-NBA second team in one of the best years of his career. I’m not underestimating what they did last year. I focused more on DeRozan taking away PWill’s opportunities for growth. We know what DeRozan and LaVine will give us every night, but we don’t know how good PWill can be. Plus, with the Bulls’ three big players DeRozan, LaVine, and Vooch, none of them are above-average defenders as PWill shows. Without breaking PWill’s full potential, I don’t think this team can really come close to the title race when your top three players are heavily offensively focused. I know this is a long point, but I think it needs to be talked about more. What are your thoughts and do you think DeRozan could be traded next season? -Kori B.

There is so much to open here. I think Williams’ playing with the starters adds to his dignified nature, so I thought it was good for Donovan to start Javonte Green and try to take Williams off the bench. It wouldn’t surprise me to see this being tried again throughout the season.

But as I mentioned in the first answer, you can enlarge and influence the areas of the game without scoring a goal. Williams didn’t do that much in the first game. Now, this is a game. So let’s stop for some perspective. But overall it needs to be more aggressive.

DeRozan is 33 years old. Williams is 21 years old. You can take a run with DeRozan and hope Williams improves and let him take over when DeRozan leaves or retires. (Although I think he’s got the kind of game to age gracefully, I don’t expect that to happen for a while.) If DeRozan leaves via trade, it means things have gone far, far south this season. I don’t see that happening.

Contrary to another “aggressive” lament for the young Patrick Williams, I’m curious about real growth. Has it still reached 6 feet, 7 inches or 6-8? He definitely looks like an athletic power forward and was drafted at a very tender age. — Matthew Cooper

The Bulls’ official roster lists him at 6 feet-7. It’s widely known that NBA rosters are wrong. But typically, heights are generously listed. So I don’t think Williams is 6-8. I’m close to 6-4 and sometimes I’m surprised at how little some of these players show up on me. Now, skill level is a different story.

I couldn’t believe that Zach LaVine along with all the other fans was already in a load management program. Not only in the 1st game of the season, but also in the 1st game of the maximum contract. So much for a healthy knee. If this is the case, the season is meaningless anyway. Sorry to be pessimistic, but no Zo, a timid PWill and a limping LaVine means we trust DeMar again – that’s not the recipe for success, he said himself. That equates to nothing more than regular season wins and a quick playoff defeat. Wow. And I’m not sure what that means in the long run for the salary cap, but it can’t be good to depend on more than $45 million a year, two guards who don’t play at all or require scheduled matches. Damn, that email was depressing. But I think the LaVine news is a big bummer. Thoughts? — Brian N.

Thanks for the kind words I didn’t include. They are greatly appreciated. And bonus points for using “whoopity-do”. This is solid.

While I totally agree that the LaVine news is relevant, let’s see how it turns out. Maybe it takes the first month of the season for the series to get used to the increased load and this blow is forgotten. But there’s no doubt that his optics aren’t great as a 5-year, $215 million deal needs injury management for his first game. Billy Donovan acknowledged this in his comments to reporters in Miami.

As for hat concerns, the Bulls will be in bad shape if LaVine and Lonzo Ball’s situations continue to be troubling. Both deals are absolutely guaranteed, and Ball has a $21.4 million player option for 2024-25. Anyone who has lived through the Derrick Rose saga knows how many injuries from high-paid players can undermine a team.

Do you see Ayo Dosunmu’s off-season beast coming to fruition, while Lonzo Ball stays in his starting rotation even if he returns? While Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan deal with forwards, maybe both are starting backcourts? How much money can Ayo demand if he keeps playing this type of game all season? — Alejandro D.

Ah yes, some optimism to offset the pessimism.

This is a scenario I haven’t thought of before, and frankly it assumes health for everyone. I can say that it is a staff that can be used occasionally. But I don’t see it as a starting lineup as it puts some responsibility on DeRozan.

As for Dosunmu’s next deal, let’s say the Bulls know they have to do whatever it takes to re-sign him. Let’s keep some perspective: He’s not a max player or anything. But in the end, as the cap rises and with determination, he enters a very nice contract that the Bulls will happily pay to keep their contract.

Who do you see as the weirdo when Lonzo returns? And does the emergence of Ayo as a true starting player make it more likely that Billy will go with a starting lineup of four when Lonzo returns? — Evan B.

Did you mean if Ball returns? I am a child. According to me. But Donovan said the Bulls had to prepare as if they were going to miss the season. It’s more of a mindset issue, as all indications suggest Ball is planning to play at least this season. I’m guessing around New Year’s, though the Bulls are poised to offer some clarity soon from their four- to six-week timelines for post-surgery reassessment.

I addressed the question of the quartet in the previous answer. I don’t see Donovan using an 11-man rotation, so if Ball returns to full health and performance, someone’s role will change. Obviously, if a player gets injured this can be determined for the team. But assuming full health, which is a long-term scenario for most teams, I predict the minutes will be most affected for Coby White or Javonte Green. Definitely not Caruso. And while the Bulls want to make sure Dragić is sharp for his potential postseason play, shooting, passing and pick-and-roll skills are also needed.

Will there be a situation where Andre Drummond will start over Nikola Vučević? Will that be in the offing or is Vooch a start no matter how badly he plays and how well Drummond plays? — Cooper K.

Never say never in the professional sports world. But your extreme example is the only scenario I’ve seen this happen in. Vučević should play like Bam Adebayo played every night in the opening game and Drummond should play like he played in the All-Star.

I think both Drummond and Goran Dragić will be great signings. Both are tough, physical professionals who can take on any role. However, this organization values ​​Vučević far more than just a loud fanbase. They value your pass, rebound and skill level. Drummond is a beginner talent who can fill Vučević’s place if he misses a game. But Vučević is the initiator.

What role do you think the second unit played in developing the team last year? Even without the stars, this feels like the deepest team since 2015. – Ed B.

I think you saw it at the opening. As I have said and written a lot, I think the additions of Dragić and Drummond will be huge. Depth is a big reason why I’m not on this team as much as some forecasters.

I’m curious about your thoughts on the lack of extensions for Coby White. He was one of the few players the new regime clings to, so it seems surprising that they’ve now lost him for nothing. All it takes is a big offer from a bad team next season. He’s already proven he can’t handle the points, so what does the front desk want to see from him this season when deciding whether to extend more than an elimination bid next season? – Piet

Given that the two parties failed to reach agreement, the front office sought less from Coby and more what the front office sought from the constrained free agent market. If it’s not weird, I can see if they’re trying to sign and trade like they did with Lauri Markkanen or they match. Losing assets for nothing is not ideal, especially for a franchise that has been short on draft picks.

Why does PWill keep shooting three-pointers? Does the coach team encourage him? Most are under pressure and does anyone really think he’s a 35 percent man? I don’t remember seeing too many players with his raw talent who had no understanding of their own offensive play. — Joe K.

This is the final PWill question. And, hey, at least he’s shooting at something.

I don’t think your voice is that loud. And aside from attacking the lane for those short pull-ups or passing opportunities, this shot will occasionally be a good fit for him due to DeRozan and LaVine’s defensive attention.

I know it’s one game but Ayo looked solid last night, not to mention last year. He looks ready to take another step. Wondering what your ceiling is?

It’s also nice to have a kid from Chicago back on the team. I’m probably missing some obvious ones but aside from DRose and Ayo, are there any other notable Bulls growing up in Chicago? -Peter G.

You’re missing some obvious ones and some not so obvious ones. If you include suburbs, look for a list that includes their high schools.

Mickey Johnson (Lindblom); Jawann Oldham (born in Chicago, high school in Seattle); Dave Corzine (Everything); Craig Hodges (Rich East); Randy Brown (Collins); Hersey Hawkins (Westinghouse); Eddy Curry (The Thorny Tree); Kendall Gill (Rich Center); Jannero Pargo (Robeson); Nazr Mohammed (Kenwood); Dwyane Wade (Richards); Jabari Parker (Simeon).

As for Dosunmu, I always say: Whatever the ceiling is, it reaches it.

Will we be able to see Marko Simonović getting important moments??? – Leo V.

All you have to do is go to Hoffman Estates, played by the Windy City Bulls.

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