The Oklahoma City Thunder have a top-three record in the Western Conference (12-6). As this young Thunder team continues to steal headlines, it is easy to get swept up in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's MVP campaign, Chet Holmgren's flashes of excellence, and even Cason Wallace's ability to a winning impact as a rookie.
However, Jalen Williams' impact should not be lost in the shuffle. The Sophomore is picking up right where he left off as a rookie. Through 17 games, Williams is averaging 17 points, four rebounds, three assists, and a stock (steals plus blocks) per game.
Not only has the Santa Clara product improved his counting stats, but he has not lost his efficiency shooting 50 percent from the floor, shooting the three-ball at a 33 percent clip, and cashing in at the charity stripe at an 87 percent clip.
Do not overlook how valuable Jalen Williams is for the OKC Thunder as the winning continues in Bricktown.
The Oklahoma City Thunder fanbase is overwhelmed with how good Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and second overall pick Chet Holmgren have been this season, and for good season, but Jalen Williams has been the straw that stirs the drink offensively when Gilgeous-Alexander is off the court.
In wins this season, Jalen Williams is averaging 18 points, four rebounds, and three assists while shooting 52 percent from the floor, 43 percent from three, and 92 percent from the charity stripe. Williams has been key in carrying the offensive load when Gilgeous-Alexander rests at the start of the second and fourth quarters.
Jalen Williams in isolation this season, is producing 1.032 points per possession, shooting 48 percent on such attempts. On spot up shots Williams shoots 46 percent, including 45 percent on dribble jumpers according to Synergy.
On the defensive end, Jalen Williams ranks in the 83rd percentile defending pick-and-roll ball handlers, smothering the offensive action. Williams ranks in the 74th percentile defending in isolation.
While the OKC Thunder have an embarrassment of riches, Jalen Williams is a key cog in their early season success. For the Thunder to get where they want to go, Williams will need to continue to shoulder the load on the offensive end when Gilgeous-Alexander rests.