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Jaylin Williams’ confidence, energy showed in career night for Thunder

Jaylin Williams’ confidence, energy showed in career night for Thunder

Jaylin Williams put up his best game as a professional on Tuesday to help the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Golden State Warriors and snap a losing streak against the defending champions.

Williams produced a career-high 15 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal in the 137-128 victory. He went 6-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, in 27 minutes of work as the Thunder broke an eight-game skid against the Warriors.

The 34th pick registered seven points alone in the fourth quarter to help the Thunder push their lead to 15 points. He wanted to bring energy and effort to the group during that final stretch, and did just that.

My teammates found me on a lot of times and found me a lot of open shots. I had to make the shots and I just played with energy. Everybody out there was playing with energy, and when we all play like that, it pushes the team to another level.

Williams is averaging 5.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists on 41.2% shooting from 3-point range in 33 games this season. He played sparingly to start the year, and even spent some time in the G League, but has been a key member of the rotation since the end of December.

The 20-year-old has started 20 games over that span, including the last 10. Though his overall numbers don’t jump off the page, Williams makes his presence felt on defense by taking charges (he is second in the NBA with 25), diving for loose balls and protecting the paint.

He entered the season known as a strong defender and that has translated over with the Thunder. He is now emerging as a shooting threat and it is something that he is looking to showcase on a nightly basis.

I’m just trying to play with confidence and play how my teammates need me to play. All of them are telling me when I get the ball in open looks, they want me to shoot the ball. My coaches are telling me to shoot in open looks. With the confidence they are giving me, I can’t do anything but go out there and play confidently.

Said head coach Mark Daigneault:

One of the things I respect about him is he has been confident from the rip. He has been like that from the beginning. Even the 3-point shooting, he just kinda came into camp and started firing; that wasn’t our idea. That was his idea. He is a confident kid and gets lost in the competition.

While Williams didn’t see the court much to begin the season, he has emerged as a valuable member of the rotation of late. He does all of the dirty work and is quickly becoming a favorite of his coaching staff and teammates.

He is becoming hard to keep off of the floor now, as a result.

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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire