Bulls rookie Patrick Williams headed back to the lab after loss
Williams is determined to be better after Clippers star Kawhi Leonard, his favorite player, took him to school Friday.
Bulls rookie Patrick Williams was taking notes Friday against the Clippers.
How Clippers star Kawhi Leonard would get to his spots with such ease on offense. How he balanced his energy between offense and defense. How he knew when to take the wheel and when to be a passenger for his teammates.
By the end of the game, Williams’ notebook was full. Heck, he likely was out of pencil lead before the fourth quarter started.
‘‘[The Clippers were] without Paul George, and we knew that,’’ Williams, 19, said. ‘‘We knew [Leonard] was going to come out more aggressive. And he did, picking his spots, where to shoot. [There were] a lot of down screens, cross screens for him, a lot of ball screens for him. And we knew that was coming. That was part of the game plan.’’
The Bulls, however, could do little to stop it. Specifically, Williams couldn’t after being matched up against Leonard for the second time this season.
Leonard scored 33 points in the Clippers’ 125-106 victory. He shot 14-for-21 from the field, including 13-for-15 on two-pointers, basically doing whatever he wanted.
‘‘Me, I think I could have done better — energy, defensively, just making it tough on him,’’ Williams said. ‘‘I think he was a little bit too comfortable out there. That’s on me. So . . . just gotta watch the film and get better from it offensively and defensively. And also, as a team, there are some things, some areas there where we kind of dropped the ball.’’
Leonard is a matchup nightmare for most NBA players, so did a guy 25 games into his professional career ever really have a chance?
In Williams’ mind, yes. He admitted he watches hours and hours of film of his opponents and players he’s compared to. And, fair or unfair, Leonard is among those comparisons.
Whether it’s Williams’ big hands, his body type or his quiet demeanor, even Lakers star LeBron James uttered Williams’ and Leonard’s names in the same sentence the first time he played against him.
But Williams, who scored only three points on five shots Friday, knows he isn’t exactly on Leonard’s heels. That’s why he insisted he needed to get back to film work and note-taking.
The goal? Different results the next time.
‘‘Not only because [Leonard is] my favorite player and my game’s kind of similar to his,’’ Williams said. ‘‘I go back and watch all the games that we play of really high-caliber players, All-Stars, things like that. I’ll go back and watch those games 10, 20 times to see what they did and how I can implement that into my game.
‘‘I want to be great in this league, and I think my teammates and my coaching staff have the confidence that I will be really good or great. I do it for me, but I also do it for them, just to let them know that as much confidence as they have in me, I have that much confidence in myself. And that confidence comes through film, comes through the work.
‘‘I don’t want that to happen again, so I’ll do whatever it takes.’’