There are times when it’s easy to forget Patrick Williams is still a 19-year-old rookie.
A reminder came in November when he had to buy a shovel to deal with the first real snowfall he ever had experienced and again last week when coach Billy Donovan said the Florida State product needed to learn about the importance of eating breakfast.
Wednesday was just the latest rookie moment — a shootaround at the famous Madison Square Garden.
“Never,’’ Williams said when asked if he had ever been in the arena in college. “I never been in New York, either. My senior year [in high school] the Jordan Brand Classic was supposed to be in New York, but they were in the playoffs. So it wasn’t in New York. Of course the [NBA] draft was supposed to be in Brooklyn [last year], but it was virtual.
“So every time I had a chance to come to New York, it got shot down. But Madison Square Garden, just being there for shootaround, you felt the energy in there. Just kind of look up in the rafters and see how many numbers they had and players they had come through this program. It’s just different energy here.’’
It’s not the only different energy surrounding the starting forward.
Even though Williams did his best to gloss over an explanation, there’s no doubt that since the March 25 trade deadline that brought five new players into the mix, his numbers have dried up a bit.
Sure, his scoring is down, but his shots per game is a big reason why, as he seems to be taking a lesser role in the offense, either by design or as young player taking a step back after the team added experience in the trades.
In February, Williams averaged 8.5 shots per game and in March it was 8.1. With April almost in the books, Williams is averaging a season-low 5.6 shots. He scored seven points on 3-for-6 shooting in the 113-94 loss to the Knicks on Wednesday.
“I just think it’s our team,’’ Williams said, when asked about the dwindling attempts. “Each day since we’ve had Zach [LaVine] out, and now we’ve got Troy [Brown] out too, and before that we had other guys out with injuries and things like that, so it’s always been next-guy-up mentality.
“I just think as a team we do a good job of moving the ball, make sure the ball has energy to move our offense, and then whoever shoots it, we feel comfortable with that shot. That’s pretty much been it. Just running our offense, and whoever shoots it, shoots it. We’re not really too worried with the number of shots.’’