Jalen Williams talks playmaking ascension, growing as ball-handler

Over this recent stretch of games, Jalen Williams has emerged as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s second-best offensive hub.

Manning his lineups, Williams has carved out a role where he gets important stretches during the game to be the lead ball-handler. It’s been an undisputable success, to say the least.

In his last 15 games, Williams is averaging 21.6 points on an absurd 73.1 true-shooting percentage, 5.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds.

On the season, lineups with Williams on and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander off possess a 3.9 net rating in 436 minutes. An extremely successful combination considering how high usage Gilgeous-Alexander is.

Not only is OKC surviving the non-SGA minutes, but it’s thriving in them due to Williams’ ascension as a self-created scorer and playmaker. Specifically, these lineups dominate at the start of the fourth quarter, where Gilgeous-Alexander typically gets his rest

In the clutch, Williams steps up. He’s second on the team in total clutch points this season, at 39 points on 13-of-16 shooting in 51 minutes this season.

The second-year wing had another masterclass showing in the Thunder’s win over the Utah Jazz. With OKC’s lead dwindled to three points entering the final frame, Williams scored 11 points to help lead it to a win.

When talking about his progression as a playmaker following the game, Williams said he’s always played this brand of basketball, citing his point guard duties in college.

“I think I just understand my team more. I feel like I’ve always been in that creator role — especially coming from Santa Clara. That was like a majority of what I was doing,” Williams said. “Having more and more opportunity to be in those situations. I think honestly, understanding where our team and our players are at on the floor, which is helping me understand what we want to do offensively.

“Understanding where guys like to be at certain times and trying to find guys in the best position to score. We have really talented players, so it’s not overly complicated on where guys feel comfortable.”

Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren get all of the attention, but Williams continues to quietly have an awesome sophomore season and cements himself as part of OKC’s intriguing young trio.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire