OKC Thunder: ‘Kenny Hustle’ provides much needed muscle for bench unit

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
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OKC Thunder
Kenrich Williams. OKC Thunder. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

‘Kenny Hustle’ is all the bustle in OKC… Before the OKC Thunder began the season, there could have been a poll taken around the OKC area asking about fan favorites, and it is highly possible that the name “Kenrich Williams” would not have come up one time in said conversation.

One of the all-time OKC Thunder fan favorites, Steven Adams, would have been at the top of the list undoubtedly. That is, until OKC General Manager, Sam Presti pulled the trigger on a four-team trade that sent Adams to New Orleans, bringing back a slew of players, including Williams, in on the deal.

At the time of the trade, Williams averaged under four points a game to go along with five rebounds in 21 minutes per contest over 39 appearances for the New Orleans Pelicans.

I understand that is a small sample size, but if we compare this to his 41 games with OKC, it is easy to see why ‘Kenny Hustle’ is making his name known across the league.

OKC hasn’t seen this type of intensity since the Andre Roberson days. This comparison may not do Williams justice because he is much more well-versed in all facets of his game, as Roberson was one-dimensional, to say the very least.

Williams has stepped it up a notch. In his short stint with OKC, he is averaging seven points per contest on 57 percent shooting to go along with his 41 percent three-point percentage. Not to mention he is red-hot from inside the perimeter, shooting around 63 percent from below the arc.

OKC Thunder reserve Kenrich Williams trade value at an all-time high.

Williams has started six of the 41 contests for OKC, but as we fast-forward to recent weeks, TI will take a look at Williams production from the bench standpoint, as well as what this means for his trade value going forward before March 25th, coming up in just a short week.

Since the abysmal loss to the New York Knicks last Saturday, Williams is averaging 13.5 points per contest coming off the bench.

This development is noteworthy because OKC has entered the second half of its season looking to become “developmentally minded” in every sense of the word.

This phrase is an excellent way of embracing the tank that Thunder fans want so desperately as OKC will look to obtain a lottery pick in this upcoming draft.

Being developmentally minded means, OKC will see more of Aleksej Pokusevski and Moses Brown in the starting lineup, especially if OKC is trying to shop  George Hill, Mike Muscala, Justin Jackson, and unfortunately, Kenrich Williams.

Williams has played lights out for the Thunder this year, and I hope he stays in Thunder Blue. Still, at two million a year, the defensive stalwart is undoubtedly trying to get paid, and that might not be OKC’s modus operandi this season.

The only issue, Williams is the Thunder bench production, especially as of late. It will be interesting to see who will pick up his slack if the Texas Christian standout is signed elsewhere this season.

There aren’t many teams across the league who couldn’t benefit from this production. Let’s take a look at some ‘Kenny Hustle’ highlights:

This play is second-nature to Williams, and there is no doubt in my mind that sequences like this are garnering calls from General Managers across the league.

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Another play where Williams is just biding his time patiently to turn scrappy defense into easy offense.

In Closing:

I could keep uploading clips all day, but instead, I will say that the former NIT Most Outstanding Player, Kenrich Williams, is the heart and soul of the OKC Thunder bench.

In reviewing the bench play from the last week, he is the most outstanding bench player for this organization, but I genuinely think he is playing for a contract elsewhere. OKC Thunder fans may need to expect ‘Kenny Hustle’ to be on the move as the trade deadline inches closer and OKC is in the business of gaining assets for the future.

In short, Kenrich Williams may have hustled his way out of OKC.

Next. 3 lineup strategies leading into trade deadline. dark