The Oklahoma City Thunder will take on the Golden State Warriors on Friday as part of the In-Season Tournament. This will be the first such game in OKC Thunder history, and after missing the first five games of the Thunder’s season, the team will get Jaylin Williams back in the fold.
The Arkansas big man has been sorely missed by the OKC Thunder in the early season, especially against the size of the New Orleans Pelicans. While some turn their nose up at that notion, given Williams’ 6’9 frame, last season’s starting big man is better than expected on the glass.
OKC Thunder received a huge boost in the Front Court with Jaylin Williams returning to the rotation. Kenrich Williams remains sidelined vs the Warriors.
Sure, Jaylin Williams only hauled down five rebounds a game a season ago, a number that increased to nearly six as a starter; his impact goes behind just him squeezing the pumpkin. Williams is the best box-out player on the Thunder roster, and while it does not always benefit him individually, it helps his teammates, allowing the lengthy guards to fly in and pull down rebounds to spark transition.
That allows the Thunder to play their style despite “going small” and was key for them to knock off those very Pelicans last season in the NBA’s Postseason Play-In Tournament.
In game six, Jaylin Williams will make his season debut with hopes of a Sophomore surge. A hamstring injury held him out of the last week of the preseason and up until this point in the year. We will see how Mark Daigneault mixes him into the rotation as he ramps up into game shape.
Kenrich Williams (Back) will remain out for this tilt against the Warriors. I asked Mark Daigneault about the injury, and while Williams is progressing, he is not progressing “as fast as Jaylin [Williams],” so the Razorback’s return to the floor was expected.
In that loss to New Orleans, the OKC Thunder also lost Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Left Knee Sprain) for this contest against the Golden State Warriors. The Thunder will have their first consecutive off days of the season and then take on the Atlanta Hawks on Monday in the Paycom Center to close the home stand.
For complete coverage of the OKC Thunder’s first In-Season tournament game all year, check back to Thunderous Intentions every day.
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