Where there's JWill, there's a way to win
Where there's a JWill, there's a way for the Bulls to win games with the No. 2 overall pick.
But thanks for playing.
"He's going to be a hell of a guard," Rose said after his bold prediction.
Of course, Rose is just a tad biased. But you would be, too, if you were wearing a red Chicago Bulls uniform on the Fleet Center floor Wednesday and saw all the little things Williams did to help stun the Eastern Conference finalist Boston Celtics -- things like the steal that enabled the Bulls to take a 96-93 lead on Trenton Hassell's 3-pointer, or the pass that followed to set up Hassell's second back-breaking 3 for the 99-96 victory.
Never mind that Williams gagged on four straight free throws in the final 1 minute, 30 seconds. There's only one other point guard in the Eastern Conference who can have that large of an impact on a game without scoring a point, and that Kidd plays in New Jersey.
"He's a player," Rose said of JWill. "Everybody knows he can play the game. And the thing about him is that he's just going to get better. He's a humble kid. And he understands that he has to come in and run the team and be in the right place at the right time."
Williams is so intent on using Jason Kidd's selfless M.O. that Kidd should get royalties. How serious is the NBA's No. 2 overall pick about making his teammates better? So much that he repeatedly passed up open shots to get the Bulls into a flow. In fact, Williams didn't attempt his first NBA shot until nearly five minutes had passed in the second quarter.
"I was trying to lead the team," Williams explained. "I think it was real important to come out right off the bat and get Jalen going and get Donyell (Marshall) going. And trying to get Tyson (Chandler) and Eddy (Curry) and other guys going. Eventually, I was going to take my shot. But running my team first is going to be real important."
Make no mistake, this is Williams' team, and he acted like its leader when he tried to calm down Chandler after the hyper second-year forward was whistled for the first of two technical fouls. Jamal Crawford was on the court when the Bulls erased a 13-point deficit to tie things up at 91 (and who knows how much longer Crawford will remain a Bull now that he's a backup), but Chicago saw the future Wednesday. And it wears No. 22.
But about those bricks he threw up from the line ...
"Make 'em," said Rose about the free-throw shooting tips he'll give Williams. "If you're going to be the Rookie of the Year, he's got to make those free throws."
Joe Lago, NBA editor for ESPN.com, writes Morning Shootaround every Wednesday and Friday.