Bulls Media Day: Williams hopes summer workouts with DeRozan will carry into season

The first rule of SoCal Boot Camp is be on time and set an alarm.

"The workout starts at 5 a.m.," Bulls forward Patrick Williams said. "Starts at 5 on the dot, not 5:01, not 4:59 ... 5 a.m. You can't be pulling in the parking lot at 5 a.m. I was still sleepy when he came to pick me up, so I don't know exactly what time (it was)."

Williams was talking about his experience this summer working out in Los Angeles with teammate DeMar DeRozan. When last season ended, DeRozan looked forward to getting Williams in the gym. When asked to describe the process, DeRozan told reporters to wait and ask Williams how it went.

Well, that time arrived Monday at Bulls Media Day. That relationship basically sums up the Bulls' outlook this season: They need DeRozan to continue to play at an All-NBA level, and Williams to take a giant step in that direction.

"I know nobody understands and knows the amount of work that I put in," DeRozan said at the United Center. "I know for a fact that most of the guys in our league don't work like I do."

At first, Williams was reluctant to give any details, not wanting to divulge proprietary information. Then again, DeRozan issued the challenge for reporters to get Williams' workout review. When the bell rang at 5 a.m., they started in the weight room.

"It's a tough lift, for sure," Williams said. "It's mostly like core, pushing yourself to exhaustion and then seeing what you can do after that. Then after that, it's onto the court. He puts himself through every situation he can possibly be in in the game - every double-team, triple-team. It's different. One-on-one, one-on-three - it's just different."

Williams said DeRozan would head home for some family time with his kids, but the pair would return to the gym for an afternoon workout.

What about the traditional vacation stuff? DeRozan could have taken Williams to Disneyland, Universal Studios, introduced him to some celebrities.

"The fun part for me was the workout," Williams said. "He's a funny guy, you're going to laugh with him. Being around his people, his family members, going to dinners, things like that. But meeting celebrities to me isn't really fun. I guess the basketball part is."

DeRozan said he spent some time with Coby White this summer, but Williams was the only Bulls player who went out to L.A. for the full workout experience.

Williams played in just 17 games during his sophomore season due to a wrist injury. He did return in time for the playoffs and finished with two 20-point games against Milwaukee. His development is obviously vital for the Bulls to have any chance at improving on last year's 46-36 record.

DeRozan is coming off arguably the best performance of his 13 years in the NBA. On Monday, he scoffed at the idea he might be headed for regression at age 33.

"It ain't like I'm 48," DeRozan said. "As long as I got wheels on this car, I'm going to ride it until these wheels don't work anymore. While I'm driving this thing, I'm going to figure out how to be the most effective and efficient driving machine that I can be."

The Bulls didn't make many moves this summer, with only three roster spots changing: Goran Dragic, Andre Drummond and rookie Dalen Terry are in; replacing Troy Brown Jr., Matt Thomas and Tristan Thompson. The coaching staff is the same.

Zach LaVine is feeling good after arthroscopic knee surgery in May and is ready to roll for Day 1 of practice Tuesday. Lonzo Ball is not feeling good and will have a second arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Wednesday.

Asked about his point guard plan, coach Billy Donovan didn't say much besides Dragic, 36, isn't likely to start, but could get late-game minutes. Alex Caruso or Ayo Dosunmu are the logical choices to start in Ball's place.

LaVine became a father and signed the most lucrative contract in Chicago sports history over the summer. He was ready Monday to set expectations high.

"I mean if they're not high then what are we doing here?" LaVine said. "Obviously we're a team that held the top seed in the East all the way until a little bit after All-Star Break. Made our first playoff berth, got our feet wet, but our expectations have to be really high.

"If we're not thinking we can compete for championships then we're selling ourselves short."

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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Chicago Bulls' DeMar DeRozan stands near the Michael Jordan statue as he watches a teammate getting photographed during the Bulls NBA basketball media day Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Chicago. Associated Press
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