Jalen Williams is a franchise-changing pick for the OKC Thunder

Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder only have two games left in their regular season. But, without seeing the second-overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, that class is already considered a massive win for OKC Thunder general manager Sam Presti. That is thanks to the rookie breakout of 12th overall pick Jalen Williams.

After Chet Holmgren went down for the season due to a Lisfranc Fracture in August at a Seattle Pro-am event, no one thought the OKC Thunder would be clinging to the 10th seed in the NBA Western Conference standings with a 38-42 record, and in control of their destiny for the final two games of the year.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were always targeting Jalen Williams, and it has panned out to the fullest extent in his rookie season.

Jalen Williams has played in 74 games this season, piling on 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, and a steal per game. Williams has posted jaw-dropping efficiency, shooting 52 percent from the floor, 35 percent from beyond the arc, and 81 percent at the Free Throw line.

According to Cleaning the Glass, Williams has posted a jarring 70 percent at the rim, ranking in the 79th percentile for his position. On non-corner triples, the rookie is stroking the trey ball at a 39 percent clip, good enough for the 75th percentile for his position.

According to Synergy, Jalen Williams ranks in the 69th percentile offensively, turning in 1.062 points per possession. Additionally, Williams ranks in the 83rd percentile when cutting, 81st percentile in isolation, 82nd percentile on putbacks, 82nd percentile off handoffs, and 66th percentile on runners.

As a rookie, Jalen Williams ranks in the 78th percentile as an isolation defender and in the 61st percentile when defending at the rim as a 6’6 Swiss army knife tasked with playing small ball five at times this season.

ESPN’s Brian Windhost has reported that the Oklahoma City Thunder had two goals on draft night, “Get Chet Holmgren, get Jalen Williams.” Mission accomplished during the 2022 NBA Draft.

Jalen Williams said himself days before the NBA Draft even arrived last Summer the OKC Thunder were one of the first teams to truly notice him and one of the few teams that watched him a lot throughout his career.

This match was made in heaven, and the Oklahoma City Thunder must view this selection as a franchise-changing pick. Jalen Williams is pushing strongly at the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award.

Since the NBA All-Star break, Williams is averaging 19 points, five rebounds, four assists, and nearly two steals per game while remaining effective shooting the ball, turning in 55 percent from the floor and 44 percent from beyond the arc.

With the All-Star potential Jalen Williams possesses, it takes some pressure off second-overall pick Chet Holmgren as he returns to the hardwood next season. However, this core gets even scarier if Holmgren is everything expected of him.

Throughout this season, Jalen Williams has taken home Rookie of the Month honors, been an overall Player of the Week nominee, earned a rising stars nomination, and solidified a bid for first-team all-rookie. All while earning the respect of his peers.

Next. The OKC Thunder are already earning the respect of the NBA. dark