Kenrich Williams wants to retire in Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma City Thunder wrapped up the 2021-22 NBA Season with the fourth-worst record in the NBA, pinning all their hopes on the NBA Draft Lottery which takes place in ten days and 15 hours. One thing is certain, the OKC Thunder will have four selections in the top 34-picks of the 2022 NBA Draft, it is just a matter of the order those selections fall in. Sam Presti continues to preach that the Thunder feel comfortable using all four picks, even though that would create great roster competition and some difficult decisions for the Thunder General Manager to make some room on the roster. One player who wants to stay on the docket not only this season but for the rest of his career is Kenrich Williams.

During his end-of-season media availability, Kenrich Williams brought a basketball into the exit interview room, smiling and joking with the assembled media, and began to rattle off everything the Thunder fanbase wants to hear. From praising head coach Mark Daigneault to being excited about the direction of the team, mentioning how fun this group of players are, and yes, even poetically professing his love for Bricktown.

Kenrich Williams wants to retire as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder aimed small market, rebuild, and roster turnover

With the need to create four roster spots, the rebuild is still ongoing, playing in a small market, and a player entering the last year of his bargain contract as someone who can help an organization win a title next year, it is refreshing to hear about Kenrich Williams love affair with Oklahoma City.

The 27-year-old forward is originally from Waco, Texas and this last month is not the first time he has praised the city he started and ended this year with glowing reviews about the city for the assembled media at Media Day to tip off the season and his exit interview.

This praise did not catch Sam Presti by surprise but made him reflect with pride on what the organization has helped the city build. Presti said when the team first moved from Seattle back in 2008, every player on the roster asked to be traded besides Nick Collison. That was the reputation for these multimillionaire athletes in the prime of their life moving to Bricktown. Now, some players love our city.

While many ran with that Presti quote and turned it into a Kevin Durant argument, who was on that final Sonics team, I think Presti was just generalizing the roster for impact. Jeff Green, Kevin Durant, Chris Wilcox (who ironically enough was later traded to New York during the team’s first season in OKC), Damien WilkinsMike Wilks (now an assistant coach for the team after finishing his playing career in OKC following the move), Robert Swift, and Johan Petro (traded to Denver during the 2008 season), and Nick Collison all made the move to Oklahoma City. Did they all ask out of Bricktown? Maybe, but I doubt it. There is plenty of ammunition to arm yourself with if you want to be disgruntled with Kevin Durant, but this quote should not be one.

Kenrich Williams has produced at a high level for the Oklahoma City Thunder, after being a throw-in to the Steven Adams trade following two mediocre seasons with the Pelicans, Williams survived Training Camp in 2020-21 and ran with his new opportunity.

Kenrich Williams shot 56-percent from three-point land in the corner during his first year in Bricktown, last year that number dipped to 36-percent with his overall three-point percentage falling from 45-percent (95th percentile at his position) to 35-percent (52nd percentile at his position) according to Cleaning the Glass. The only shooting number which improved for Williams this past season was his long mid-range jumper going from 39-percent in 2020-21, to 42-percent last year.

Mix his solid offense with his versatile and top-level defense, and you have a high-priority contributor and culture setter. During the height of the COVID-19 season, Mark Daigneault pointed to Kenrich Williams as the leader of the team in reflection of the 2020-21 season, in which the OKC Thunder were one of the only teams to escape without a massive COVID-19 outbreak, Mark Daigneault said “Kenrich Williams would grab you by the shirt…He would flush that real quick.” when asked if players ever got tired of doing the right thing in regards to the Health and Safety Protocols.

One thing is certain from talking to players, Sam Presti, and the head ball coach, Kenrich Williams is an incredible mentor for the youngest team in the NBA, which average roster age is even younger than some college squads while fostering a 31-year-old Derrick Favors.

Williams seems to be in the fabric of this organization, and should not worry about putting his house up for sale anytime soon, and we all want it that way.