CHICAGO – One of the players that fans are most eager to see develop over the course of the 2022-2023 season is the first draft pick of the Arturas Karnisovas/Marc Eversley regime.

Patrick Williams joined the Bulls after just one season in college and has been growing just like the rest of the team in a new era. Part of that was hindered by a wrist injury that cost him most of the 2021-2022 season.

Now entering year three, Williams will get the shot to open his season with the starters to get things going Wednesday in Miami.

Head coach Billy Donovan announced after Tuesday’s practice that he will get the start at power forward against the Heat in the season opener at FTX Arena. Forwards Javonte Green and Derrick Jones Jr. will serve in backup roles to start the year.

Donovan was complimentary about Williams’ performance in training camp along with Green and Jones, but he decided to start with the 2020 fourth overall pick at the power forward position with the first team.

“I just want Patrick to be himself. I think he’s an important ingredient to our team. I think he can really, really help us,” said Donovan of Williams. “I think there’s also parts of Patrick where we even get him staggered into the second unit some. For me, I just think he can be a key component to our team, a key contributor, and he can help us.”

Starting is a position that Williams is familiar with since he’s done so in 80 of his 88 career NBA game, including starting all 71 contest he took part in during his rookie season. In his second NB campaign, the forward was limited to just 17 games after suffering a dislocated wrist in October of 2021.

He end up starting nine total contests in the regular season then all five first round playoff games against the Milwaukee Bucks. During his two seasons, Williams is averaging 9.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in 27.3 minutes per game.

While naming the third-year forward a starter, Donovan did say that he’ll be using a few combinations at that position on both the first and second unit.

“I’m not that wrapped up in the starting part as much as how we’re subbing off the bench, who’s coming in next. Those are things that are going to happen based on experiences and information that we have from our group,” said Donovan. “It could be a situation where Patrick plays and we stagger him into the second unit, get Javonte out there with the first unit.

“But you’ve got to look at the totality of the game, at least from the first half standpoint, if you’re going to play nine or ten players, how you rotate and how you sub, and how you’re creating some combinations of players playing together.”

Donovan has called on Williams to be more aggressive in the past, but he took time to clarify what he means by that.

“I think people look at the word aggressiveness and they think that he’s supposed to get the ball and go score. That’s not, to me, what aggressive is. He needs to go to the backboard and offensive rebound. He needs to get out in transition and run. He needs to be a disruptor on the defensive end of the floor. He needs to defensive rebound. Now, if he’s got the ball and he’s got opportunities – by all means, take it. My point for him, that would be aggressiveness to me. Get that into the game. I think he’s done a better and better job, and continues to get better at that. For him, I think that’s been a learning curve and a learning process for him of how he gets that into the game. It all starts with, for a player like Patrick, what kind of condition are you in? It’s hard to be aggressive if you’re not in great shape. I think he’s worked really hard to get himself in good shape going into the season.”