NBA Summer League: Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams shine as Thunder rolls past Grizzlies

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Jalen Williams picked a pocket and cruised the other way for a dunk.

Williams is going to be overshadowed in Summer League by whatever Chet Holmgren does. But Williams, the Thunder’s pick at No. 12, is already looking quite comfortable on the fringes of the spotlight.

Williams quietly gashed the Jazz for 17 points on Tuesday night, and he led the Thunder Wednesday night with 16 points in OKC’s 87-71 win against Memphis.

Through two Summer League games, the guard out of Santa Clara is shooting 13-of-20 (65%) from the floor, including a 4-of-4 mark from 3-point range.

“I feel good,” Williams told The Oklahoman. “We’re playing super unselfishly offensively. Usually when that’s the case it makes the game a lot easier.”

Williams primarily played on the ball in college, but he’s been a fast learner in playing off the ball next to a lead guard like Giddey.

“Just kind of figuring out what (Giddey) likes to do, and just being ready,” Williams said. “He throws a lot of no-looks.”

Williams has been crafty in attacking the rim with shades of SGA in his game, but the 3-point numbers are especially encouraging given the Thunder’s dearth of perimeter shooting.

“Being off the ball, you get a lot more open looks,” Williams said. “I’m just ready to shoot them whenever they present themselves. Playing alongside these guys, open threes are gonna come.”

Williams is the anti-Holmgren in a lot of ways. He was a mid-tier recruit while Holmgren was a five-star. Holmgren went one-and-done at Gonzaga while Williams was just another guy at Santa Clara for two seasons before breaking out in his junior year.

Holmgren was always expected to be a top pick while Williams was a late riser up NBA draft boards.

Now the former West Coast Conference foes are Thunder teammates.

More:Why Chet Holmgren shared spotlight with Josh Giddey in ESPN interview

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Jalen Williams (8) juggles the ball with his foot and leg after the final whistle in the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jeff Swinger) ORG XMIT: UTJS114
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Jalen Williams (8) juggles the ball with his foot and leg after the final whistle in the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jeff Swinger) ORG XMIT: UTJS114

Holmgren vs. Lofton

Chet Holmgren vs. Kenny Lofton Jr. was the Summer League matchup we didn’t know we needed.

Holmgren is 7-foot, 190. Lofton is 6-foot-7, 280.

Centers can come in all shapes and sizes, and the contrast between Holmgren and Lofton is what made the matchup so compelling.

Credit Lofton.

The big man from Louisiana Tech didn’t back down.

Lofton repeatedly tried to bully Holmgren in the post. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. But it was always entertaining, and it was a good test for Holmgren.

Forget that Lofton had four first-half fouls.

Just as it’s hard to find a body comp for Holmgren in the NBA, the same is true of Lofton. The good news for Holmgren? Nobody in the league is built like Lofton, and though it’s sad to think about, Lofton probably doesn’t have a place in the NBA.

Holmgren recorded his first block midway through the third quarter when he swatted a Lofton 3-point attempt.

Holmgren notched another block, this one two-handed, later in the third quarter.

Holmgren played 26 minutes. He looked gassed in the second half, but Summer League coach Kameron Woods left Holmgren in there.

Lofton had better offensive numbers than Holmgren — 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting compared to 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting — but Holmgren was still more valuable with his 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

The Thunder outscored the Grizzlies by 20 points with Holmgren on the floor. The Grizzlies were outscored by 16 points with Lofton on the floor.

Given Holmgren’s heavy minutes load, it’s highly unlikely he plays Thursday night in the Salt Lake City Summer League finale.

More:Five takeaways from Thunder's win vs. Jazz in Chet Holmgren's debut

Memphis Grizzlies guard Tremont Waters (51) is defended by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) and another player during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jeff Swinger) ORG XMIT: UTJS102
Memphis Grizzlies guard Tremont Waters (51) is defended by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) and another player during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jeff Swinger) ORG XMIT: UTJS102

Giddey gets downhill

Josh Giddey was 0-of-4 from 3-point range, but he was 7-of-11 from inside the arc. Giddey met little resistance when he got into the teeth of the Grizzlies’ defense.

Giddey continued his terrific start to Summer League with a triple-double: 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Giddey’s Summer League might be done. It’s not expected that he’ll play in Las Vegas, and he probably doesn’t need to.

The young Australian guard took a page out of Holmgren’s playbook after the game when Giddey called over Holmgren to join him in the walk-off interview with Holly Rowe.

More:Thunder Summer League: Roster, schedule & everything else to know

Memphis Grizzlies guard Shaq Buchanan is defended by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey (3) during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jeff Swinger) ORG XMIT: UTJS104
Memphis Grizzlies guard Shaq Buchanan is defended by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey (3) during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game Wednesday, July 6, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Jeff Swinger) ORG XMIT: UTJS104

Dieng gets one to go

Ousmane Dieng is one of those guys where his shot looks a lot better than the result.

It’s better than the alternative: an ugly shot with ugly results.

The Thunder likes to say it focuses more on the process than the results. It’s only a matter of time before the phrase is applied to Dieng.

Any Summer League sample is meaningless, but it’s all we’ve got to go on thus far. And it hasn’t been pretty for Dieng. He’s a combined 6-of-24 from the floor, including 3-of-14 from 3-point range.

He did cash 2-of-5 3-point attempts Wednesday.

More:Making sense of Thunder's roster crunch before 2022-23 NBA season

Tip-ins

⊳ Every Thunder player except Tre Mann (health and safety protocols) was available.

⊳ Lindy Waters III and Vit Krejci played big minutes for the Thunder on Wednesday. Neither played Tuesday night.

⊳ Jaylin Williams took a charge. Get used to seeing that.

⊳ Kevin Durant gave a shoutout to Holmgren on Twitter: “I see you cookin 7,” Durant tweeted. First day on the job was a success, love the kicks @ChetHolmgren.” Holmgren was wearing KD 15s.

⊳ Lu Dort’s multi-year contract is now official. The Thunder announced the news during the middle of the Summer League game. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it’s been reported at five years, $87.5 million.

NBA Summer League: Thunder vs. Grizzlies live updates

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This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OKC Thunder, Josh Giddey beat Memphis Grizzlies in NBA Summer League