Thunder youngster draws high-praise comparisons to Kawhi Leonard, James Harden

Jan 16, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) passes
Jan 16, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jalen Williams (8) passes / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Though Shai Gilgeous-Alexander draws in the vast majority of attention with his on-court play, he is far from the only eye-catching talent this OKC Thunder team rosters.

From Rookie of the Year candidate big men to wildly versatile guards, coach Mark Daigneault finds himself with a plethora of high-end talents who can make a difference on the hardwood in a number of ways, and one just recently received significant praise by being compared to two of the game's best players.

Thunder sophomore draws comparison to Kawhi Leonard, James Harden

Through 78 games played, it has become quite evident that second-year wing Jalen Williams has been the Robin to SGA's Batman, as he's become the Thunder's second-in-command scoring option and boasts the team's third-best box plus/ minus rating (2.2).

His tremendous growth from year one to two has some such as Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes believing he should be the clear front runner to take home the league's Most Improved Player award, as he argues the 22-year-old is already showing flashes of being a Kawhi Leonard and/ or James Harden-type stud.

"J-Dub's three-point hit rate is up to elite levels now at 43.1 percent, and that's while generating far more self-created off-the-dribble looks than he did a year ago.

Capable of running the offense from the point, working his way to the right elbow for fading jumpers he seemingly never misses and getting all the way to the basket with authority, Williams is showing flashes of a ceiling that resembles a strange combination of Kawhi Leonard and James Harden. Nobody's saying he'll match the careers of those all-timers, but a second-year leap this massive means we have to start invoking major names when drawing comparisons."

Grant Hughes

Though perhaps displaying a quiet demeanor play style more closely comparable to Leonard, both he and Harden are talents youngsters aspire to resemble and Williams certainly has the makings of being an All-NBA selectee should he continue on with his progressions.

In just his second season, the former lottery pick finds himself posting phenomenal averages of 19.5 points, 4.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.1 steals while shooting 54.0 percent from the floor and 43.1 percent from distance.

Still just 22 years old, the sky truly seems like the limit for this budding star. In Hughes' eyes, however, it's to the level of Leonard and Harden, both of whom are 75th Anniversary Team selectees.

Not a bad second landing spot.