OKC Thunder rookie Jalen Williams already earning respect of his peers

Jalen Williams #8 of Team Joakim (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Jalen Williams #8 of Team Joakim (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

Over the weekend, the Oklahoma City Thunder sent Rookie Jalen Williams to the NBA Rising Stars Challenge. The 12th pick out of the University of Santa Clara is off to a fantastic start to his NBA Career, already capturing the Rookie of the Month award for October/November and being in a heated race with Kings forward Keegan Murray for each month after that.

The OKC Thunder are in the midst of an NBA Play-in chase, currently clinging to the tenth spot in the Western Conference tournament. To hold onto that slot, the Thunder will battle with the Sacramento Kings twice during this coming week in a baseball-style set at the Paycom Center that will shape the rest of the season for the Bricktown boys.

Oklahoma City Thunder rookie forward Jalen Williams is already earning respect from his peers as Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray was very complimentary of his game.

This season, Jalen Williams is averaging 12 points, four rebounds, and three assists per game with over a steal and half a block per tilt on the defensive end. Williams is shooting 50 percent from the floor and 32 percent from three overall. However, Williams is shooting 40 percent from distance in seven games this February.

At the rim, along with his rim-shaking slams, Williams is hitting his shots at a 71 percent clip at the ring. That ranks him in the 82nd percentile for his position, according to Cleaning the Glass.

At the NBA Rising Stars event, I asked Keegan Murray what he thought of Williams’s game, and the Kings forward was very complimentary of the Thunder rookie.

“We’ve played against him once, he has been playing really well in all aspects, rebounding, putting the ball in the basket, assist, steals…his confidence has grown a lot. It has been cool to see.” Murray told me.

This falls in a long line of players who have taken note of Jalen Williams’s game, notably his teammate, Kenrich Williams, who tabbed the Rookie with All-Star potential back in training camp.

For the OKC Thunder to finish in the playoff picture, the Santa Clara product will have to avoid hitting the rookie wall, which is something Mark Daigneault and Williams are concerned about.

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