The Oklahoma City Thunder shifted their entire focus to the 2022 NBA draft a year ago, picking four new players, including three lottery prospects, in last month’s draft. With the 12th pick, Thunder selected general manager Sam Presti Jalen Williams of the University of Santa Clara. That made him Santa Clara’s highest draft pick since legendary point guard Steve Nash.
One of three lottery picks for the OKC Thunder, Jalen Williams was a quick riser at the NBA draft combine after entering the draft pool at age 21. Williams was a knock-down shooter last season, stroking three-ball with a 39-percent clip averaging 18 points, four assists and a steal per contest. Much like Chet Holmgren, Williams made his professional debut on Tuesday and didn’t disappoint.
Jalen Williams is looking terrific on his Oklahoma City Thunder debut, showing his scoring potential against the Utah Jazz in his first Summer League game
If the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t have Chet Holmgren on the same list, Jalen Williams would be stealing all the deadlines. This is a big “issue” that makes this young roster a dominant one after Chet Holmgren’s perfect debut in the NBA Summer League, nobody talks about how great Williams looked.
Jalen Williams showed what a goalscorer he can be in the NBA and showed the value of having every player on the court be a playmaker. Williams poured in 17 points, grabbed five rebounds and shot 72 percent from the floor.
Williams excelled at cutting to the edge, and his nature as a playmaker allowed him to understand how to get behind defenders on cuts and how to shift off the ball to find the defensive weak spot that leads to buckets.
Jalen Williams’ rim finish was amazing, mix that with its perimeter shooting and you can see the potential of a truly premium Swiss Army knife. How many Thunder players on this roster do you trust to take a bucket alone or enable the team to score or even be a play finisher? The list is not too long and Williams can fulfill every wish.
While this was just a small taste of what Santa Clara’s product can do, there’s plenty to look forward to with its scoring and finishing potential.
Chet Holmgren will deservedly steal all the headlines for his historic performance, but don’t forget how good Jalen Williams did in his Summer League debut.