Coach Billy Donovan wants to see Patrick Williams get more aggressive on the offensive end, and he feels the rookie is equipped to do it.
Growing pains were expected in the development of Patrick Williams.
After all, the fourth overall pick has been thrust into the starting lineup as a 19-year-old and asked to try to slow down All-Stars and future Hall of Famers on what seems like a nightly basis.
Along the way, however, his offense, plagued by indecision, is suffering.
And trying to find the rhythm in a 101-90 loss to the Lakers on Saturday at the United Center wasn’t exactly ideal.
The Lakers (13-4) made sure it wasn’t ideal for most of the Bulls.
Zach LaVine did finish with a team-high 21 points, but the Lakers led by 30 at halftime, and despite sleepwalking through most of the second half, they never were in danger of slipping up.
The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Bulls (7-9).
It was the eighth straight victory for the Lakers against the Bulls — the first time in franchise history they’ve accomplished that feat.
“I was really disappointed in the first half,’’ Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “They’re the world champions, and that’s for a reason. Certainly we dug ourselves a hole in that first quarter. I didn’t think we played to our identity in that first half. The first half, it wasn’t who we’ve been.’’
That might be the case for most of the Bulls, but not for Williams.
After scoring 17 points in the loss to the Clippers two weeks ago, then following that up with 14 against the Thunder, Williams’ offense seemingly has gone on vacation.
Williams scored only five points in Dallas last weekend, and, after dealing with a hip issue, he returned against the Hornets and went only 2-for-7 for four points.
In a nightmarish first half against the Lakers, Williams went 1-for-7 and had only two points. He did shoot better in the second half, but the Lakers seemed to let go of the rope, allowing all the Bulls to feel a bit better after their early offensive woes.
Williams finished 5-for-12 from the field and had 13 points.
“In that first half, we just broke down,’’ Williams said. “We can just look at this, get better from it.
‘‘We knew coming into this game that they were really long defensively, and they used that to their advantage. It was on us, as well.’’
Williams also has to remember that he needs to develop on both ends of the court.
“There’s no question that he’s got to be aggressive,’’ Donovan said. “I’ve got to find ways to get the ball in his hands some because, like I’ve said before, he’s a really good ballhandler and a good passer, and I think he’ll end up being a very, very good pick-and-roll player. We’ve done that some with him, but when he’s got his shots and his opportunities to drive, he needs to take them.’’
Will Donovan sit Williams down for a heart-to-heart? That’s not in the plans. The feeling is Williams has the makeup to figure it out.
“He’s not that kind of player,’’ Donovan said. “He’s a team-oriented guy. He wants to do what’s right. I don’t get the sense from him at all that his attitude is, ‘OK, listen, I’m going to go over here and stand in the corner, and if it comes to me, I’ll shoot it or cut backdoor if it’s open.’ I think he wants to be engaged, but I also think he wants to make the right play, as well.”