4 Thunder players who need monster second halves to save their job

Jaylin Williams and Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder
Jaylin Williams and Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages
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The Oklahoma City Thunder are going places. Gone are the days when they could use roster spots and playing time on longshot dart throws or salary dumps. The Thunder are great, right now, and that changes the calculus on how they build out the roster.

Leashes grow shorter, playing time grows scarcer, and the opportunities to prove oneself diminish. The weight of expectations falls more heavily on the shoulders of the stars, and the weight of pending consequences presses on those whose roles are less secure.

Which players on the Thunder will need to have strong showings down the final stretch of the season in order to guarantee a place in the team's future? Let's look at four candidates, each in different roles, and cast a roadmap to ensuring they stick around in the team's plans. These four players need monster second halves to save their jobs.

No. 4: Jaylin Williams

On the surface, Jaylin Williams doesn't look like a player in danger of losing his role. The same-named, charge-taking undersized big has carved out a real role for himself as the backup center, with just enough shooting pop to stretch the floor and enough defensive instincts to survive his lack of size on defense.

For all that he has played hard and earned his place, however, his grip on that role is tenuous at best. The Thunder already brought in Bismack Biyombo to provide size at center, something the 6'9" Williams simply can't do. He is also on a non-guaranteed contract that could be waived if necessary to make room for a big signing in free agency.

Williams is a good player, and should have a long NBA career, but undersized centers are not a valued commodity in the league and if the Thunder decide they need more size inside he would be an obvious casualty. He needs to prove his worth to the team down the stretch to ensure he has a job next year.