LeBron James praises Patrick Williams, ‘Kawhi-like hands’ after Bulls-Lakers

What LeBron saw in first match with Patrick Williams initially appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Forget a welcome to the NBA minute. Attempt a welcome to the NBA month. Or more.

Fifty one days after the Bulls chose him 4th general in the 2020 draft, Patrick Williams is 10 starts, and 2 all-time protective tasks, into his NBA profession. Initially, in a Jan. 1 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, loomed Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

On Friday, LeBron James represented the job at hand.

Williams opened the contest throughout from James, and, with Otto Porter Jr. left after the very first quarter with back convulsions, closed the night protecting him down the stretch. The Lakers star completed with 28 points, 7 rebounds and 7 helps. 

“I can’t really say much except I got better. I got better tonight as a defender, as a player. Just being around him, watching him, guarding him, I got better,” Williams stated of protecting James. “In the 10th game of the season, that’s all you can ask for. I took on the challenge.”

Obstacle is right. In simply over 8 minutes compared with Williams, per NBA.com’s tracking information, James scored 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting, dished 3 helps, drew 3 shooting fouls and dedicated 3 turnovers. 

There was a whirling spin relocation that left Williams in the dust early on, an and-one lay-in through the novice’s chest late in the 4th quarter, and many, undefendable post fadeaways. There was likewise a Williams poke-away — formally credited as a take — early in the 3rd, and a forced airball on James with simply over 3 minutes to play and the visitors tracking by 5.

Eventually, the Bulls contended, however the Lakers dominated. And, even having just faced him as soon as, James left impressed by the 19-year-old rook.

“I think he’s going to be an exceptional talent,” James stated of Williams. “Long arms. He has Kawhi-type hands that I noticed out on the floor, so I knew I couldn’t play with the ball much. And you could tell that he’s just laser sharp on trying to get better and better.”

Williams swiped 4 takes in the video game. His postgame remarks focused specifically on what James mentioned 2nd: Utilizing the protective project as a stepping stone.

“I can always do better. There were a couple plays early where he kind of was able to get to his spots. He was kind of too comfortable, and that led him to be more aggressive,” Williams stated. “But like I said, it’s a learning experience 10 games. And we got at least 62 more.”

His on-court play befit his common disposition. Even-keeled.

“(He) Didn’t say much at all,” James stated. “He just stayed sharp on the game plan. I think he’s going to continue to get better and better. Has a great in-between game. But if you notice his hands, though, he has, like I said, Kawhi-like hands. That’s gonna benefit him a lot throughout the course of this season, throughout the course of his career.”

So will the subtle lessons discovered in matches such as this one. After taking shoulders from Antetokounmpo, for instance, Williams broke that his “chest was on fire.” 

Any remaining results from James?

Nah, not really,” Williams stated. “I was able to kinda hold some resistance and not kinda take those shots in the chest like I was from Giannis. From Giannis I learned that kinda you can’t lean on him. You can’t really play with your chest, you gotta play with your hands to make him uncomfortable. I learned. And I learned from LeBron tonight. I got better tonight.”

While he stated the ease with which James selects his areas and establishes colleagues is something he right away eliminated, Williams comprehends that the procedure of internalizing lessons from the match is only simply starting. 

“I’ll learn a lot more from the film and so will we as a team,” Williams stated. “The film is really what we’ll learn from, so I’m just ready to dive into that.”

Billy Donovan was delighted with the effort.

“I thought he did a great job competing. He really battled,” Donovan stated. “And he’s going to get better from a game like this.”

Another prospective test waits for Williams to top the trip in Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers. Then Jayston Tatum, Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics in Chicago Tuesday.

The hits keep coming. However at every turn, Williams continues to impress. As James stated, to top his reflections on his very first match with the rook:

“I believe Chicago has a great one.”

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.