Thunder: Mark Daigneault explains why Jalen Williams is so intriguing

Thunder: Mark Daigneault explains why Jalen Williams is so intriguing

Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Jalen Williams neared 30 points in a career performance on Wednesday in a win over the San Antonio Spurs and earned high praise from his team afterward.

Williams produced a career-high 27 points, six rebounds and two assists in the 119-111 win at home. He finished by shooting 11-of-15 from the field, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, in 33 minutes of work as the Thunder improved to 9-13 on the season.

The Thunder trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half. Williams recorded 20 points in the second half to lead the comeback as the Thunder outscored the Spurs 59-34 over the final two quarters. It was the fourth time the Thunder overcame a 15-point deficit to win.

Thunder coach Mark Daigneault raved about Williams afterward.

He was big-time. He was really good. (He) continues to get better. Defensively, especially. I know he, obviously, scored tonight but the thing that is intriguing about him is his size out there. You look at him out there and he is huge for a wing. It is hard to find big, wing defenders like that.

He is strong, tough, smart and has got great length and size. Once his fundamentals kind of catch up to the rest of those ingredients, he is going to be a really good defensive player, too. It should be another good night for his confidence.

Said Josh Giddey:

He was great. He does it on both ends of the floor. It is usually him and Lu (Dort) that guard the opposition’s best guy. He always plays his role great and tonight he was on the end of a lot of cuts. He got downhill and finished well at the rim. He was awesome tonight and has been great all year.

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Williams topped his previous season-high of 16 points with the performance, which he has reached twice. It was only his fifth time logging more than 30 minutes as he is just the fourth rookie this season to score at least 25 points in a game.

The 12th pick often plays with poise and maturity well beyond his years. He is emerging as a dynamic playmaker for the Thunder through the first quarter of the season and is beginning to settle in on the court after missing four games at the start of the year due to a facial fracture.

He believes he is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment.

I don’t really view myself as being a rookie. I’m just kinda going out there and playing. That is stuff I’ve worked on and, obviously, the coaches and the team has been pumping a lot of confidence in me to kinda just play my game so I wasn’t nervous.

With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out of the lineup due to a hip injury, the Thunder got contributions from the entire roster with Williams leading the way. He is establishing himself as one of the go-to players on the team and should only continue to improve the more he plays.

That will certainly be worth watching throughout the season.

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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire