Bulls chief executive Arturas Karnisovas said his philosophy for the NBA draft is to select the best player available.
With the No. 4 pick in Wednesday's NBA Draft, the Bulls selected Florida State forward Patrick Williams.
Ahead of the likes of Deni Avdija, Obi Toppin, Tyrese Haliburton and Killian Hayes, variously viewed as top NBA prospects. Williams in his freshman season at Florida State in 2019-20 was a sixth man.
The Bulls are counting on him being a top man in their hearts and their lineup and to show he's at least the fourth best player in this draft, if not better.
And many are optimistic with some NBA scouts predicting the Bulls may have drafted the next coming of All-Star Kawhi Leonard.
Edwards, who doesn't turn 20 until next August as the second youngest player in this draft, is a physically imposing 6-8, 225 pound forward with a defensive mentality.
One of the concerns about the Bulls in recent seasons was the lack of physical, dominating play.
Williams would presumably address that with an aggressive game, a long seven-foot wing span and in perhaps a tribute to the late Jerry Krause a wide frame and broad shoulders that suggest ample room to grow. Krause, the longtime Bulls general manager, was known for spotting the extreme physical characteristics, which led the Bulls to Scottie Pippen.
Though Williams comes with warnings signs, in part, because of his youth and inexperience.
He's primarily, at least for now, a scorer with a spot up mid range game and cutting to the basket scoring. He didn't attempt many threes and shot just over 30 percent. But making more than 80 percent of his free throws suggests he will be a capable shooter.
He's regarded as a good athlete if not great and more of a power forward than small forward since he's not adept at running offense with a high turnover rate when handling the ball and limited assist numbers. Karnisovas said he never is concerned about duplicating positions, so it should be a competition—or perhaps motivation—for Lauri Markkanen, the presumed power forward who is coming off a poor season.
Williams is the rare player who his coach said came to college as a freshman asking to play defense and be put in defensive situations, reminiscent of the Bulls former guard Jimmy Butler when he attended Marquette.
Williams is quick and regarded as an excellent help defender and rim protector from the weak side in help defense situations. He was among his conference leaders in blocks and steals per minute played as he averaged about 22 minutes off the bench.
He's considered the sort of multi position defender who can guard pretty much every position on the floor and would match up against the top offensive players in the league.
Williams isn't as aggressive on offense with what some scouts say is a slow delivery with his emphasis more on the defensive end, at least for now. It's not unlike the profile of Leonard when he was in college as a defense first player with barely a mid range shooting game. Leonard did play two years in college and then was brought along slowly for two years by the Spurs until he emerged as a Finals MVP and league star who now is an excellent long range shooter and team leader and facilitator.
Williams was said to be a favorite of new coach Billy Donovan, who wants to revamp the Bulls defensive play with more aggression and perhaps physical intimidation like a favorite of his in Oklahoma City, Steven Adams. It's clearly a draft selection looking to the future as it also suggests the Bulls are wagering on a big upside.
Williams spoke with ESPN reporters after the selection.
He said he's confident and expects to succeed "at any position you put me at" and credited "the people around me to make sure I didn't get outside of myself.
"It's huge, for sure," Williams said about being drafted by the Bulls. First, I feel blessed to be in this position and…grateful for it, for sure. I'm excited to go to Chicago and to put in as much work as I can and learn as much as I can and be great."
Williams said he relies on "the work you put in. If you put in enough work day to day. I give credit to my college teammates and coaches who encouraged me all season and put me in position to succeed all season."