Kenrich Williams Small-Ball Defense Not A Fluke
The lineup featuring Gilgeous-Alexander, Dort, Giddey, Jalen Williams, and Kenrich Williams was OKC’s seventh most frequent five-man unit last season. Across 76 minutes together, they produced a staggering 127.6 Offensive Rating, 111.9 Defensive Rating, and 15.8 Net Rating.
For context, those marks would be the largest Offensive and Net Rating in NBA history if stretched to an entire season. Granted, the sample isn’t exactly monstrous, but the results reflect favorably on Kenrich Williams’ versatility and small-ball center aptitude.
In addition, advanced metrics paint Williams in a hyper-positive light. “Kenny Hustle” led the NBA in their metric Defensive Role Versatility, which measures how often a player defends different offensive roles, such as stretch big, movement shooter, primary ball handler, etc.
Williams also ranked 16th in FiveThirtyEight’s respected Defensive RAPTOR metric, which takes a more general view of a player’s defensive impact. In other words, he is defending numerous offensive roles at a high level.
Can Williams bring his Swiss Army Knife defense into next season? His defensive IQ is off the charts, and his combination of size and quickness should allow him to hang against most centers outside the superstars. If Kenrich Williams continues his small-ball success, then OKC owns extreme lineup versatility with the chance to exploit opponents offensively in small-ball sets.