A look at how three former Seminoles fared in their rookie seasons in the NBA

With all three Florida State players officially done with their rookie seasons, it’s time to take a look at how each made their transition to the professional game.

After the Chicago Bulls selected Patrick Williams with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, many Bulls fans were skeptical because Williams did not start or put up gaudy numbers in college. Head coach Leonard Hamilton put the doubters to rest quite simply with this quote below.

At 6’7, 215 lbs, his physical and defensive attributes translated to the NBA quite well. He started 71 games for the Bulls and was looked upon to defend superstars like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. Out of the rookie class, Williams finished third in blocks (0.6) and sixth in steals (0.9). After his first matchup against Williams, James had this to say on the former Seminole.

On the offensive side of the ball, Williams averaged 9.2 points per game while looking more comfortable as a shooter than he did in Tallahassee. He shot 48% from the field while compiling a 39% mark from the three-point line. Williams also brought down 4.6 rebounds per game.

In the second to last game of the regular season, Williams poured in a career high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field against the Brooklyn Nets.

With a year under his belt and a front office that believes in his potential, Williams seems poised to develop in the offseason and be ready for a leap in year two.

Williams’ performance on both ends was enough to earn him a spot on the All-Rookie Second Team (46 second team votes, two first team votes).

Devin Vassell went shortly after Williams with the 11th overall pick. The 6’5, 200 lbs guard was chosen by the San Antonio Spurs for what he brought as a 3-and-D wing. While the numbers weren’t flashy (5.5 points, 2.8 rebounds per game), Vassell showed promise (four games of 10+ points in final three weeks of regular season).

His season-high came on April 17 in a 111-85 win over the Phoenix Suns. Vassell scored 18 points on 7-for-9 from the field. He shot 4-for-6 from beyond the arc, which tied for a season-best.

In the offseason, expect the former FSU star to work on his playmaking and shot-creating ability. If improvements in those two areas are made, Vassell could make a big jump in the Spurs rotation next season.

Unlike his former teammates, Trent Forrest did not have the luxury of being a first-round pick. In fact, the class of 2016 recruit went undrafted and had to sign a two-way contract with the Utah Jazz.

He saw action in 30 games, where he averaged 2.9 points per contest. Forrest was called upon by head coach Quin Snyder to log minutes with Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley out with injuries. Forrest seemed to earn Snyder’s trust, as he logged 14 or more minutes in 10 of the last 11 Jazz regular season games.

In a COVID shortened season, Williams, Vassell, and Forrest all found their footing in one way or another. It will be fascinating to see how each improves over the course of the offseason before the 2021-22 regular season begins.

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