November 27, 2022
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Bulls forward Patrick Williams’ career path just took a sharp turn

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Billy Donovan tried to downplay his biggest decision yet as Bulls coach after a 131-113 preseason victory over Denver at the United Center on Friday night.

It didn’t work.

From the moment the team’s digital department pushed send on the social media post announcing Donovan’s starting lineup, the narrative was in motion. Its significance was clear for all to see, and on this night little else about the contest itself mattered.

Patrick Williams, the fourth overall pick in 2020, a player widely viewed as the piece who can take the Bulls from good to great, was replaced. He was supplanted by Javonte Green, a 29-year-old journeyman in his third season after going undrafted in 2015.

This isn’t how anyone envisioned Williams kick-starting his third season, a pivotal time proverbially referred to as a contract year. The 21-year-old forward will be eligible for an extension to his rookie contract next summer. His performance this season will largely determine his worth.

And in the second exhibition game, Williams was pulled from the first string. Donovan then spent the bulk of his longer-than-usual, 16-minute postgame news conference fielding questions about his decision.

“To me, it’s a preseason game,” Donovan said. “I don’t look at it that way or view it that way. I don’t think Patrick does either. The last thing I would call it would be a demotion. This is just the way I view it, Patrick was the fourth player taken in the draft. That’s not his fault.





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