Summer League in Review: Jalen Williamsimage via Thunder

Summer League in Review: Jalen Williams

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We’re digging in on the Summer League performances, of which the Thunder had heaps.

Previous player breakdowns

Chet Holmgren

Josh Giddey

Ousmane Dieng

Tre Mann

Aaron Wiggins

Vit Krejci

Lindy Waters III

Gabe Brown

Jaden Shackelford

Abdul Gaddy

Kevin Kangu

Robert Baker

Contextualizing the numbers

Most exhibition statistics, primarily the percentages from the field, have little to no correlation to players’ output during real NBA minutes. The Summer League is more about the process and how these players are doing what they are doing on the floor.

This helpful guide by Owen Phillips showcases which Summer League numbers are sticky when projecting a player in their first season:

  • Three Point Attempts
  • Assists
  • Blocks
  • Offensive Rebounds
  • Field Goal Attempts

As Phillips shows, all of these categories are less affected by statistical noise when compared to their counterparts. The least correlated stats from Summer League are:

  • FT%
  • Three Point %
  • Steals
  • Free Throw Attempts
  • FG%

With these caveats out of the way, we’ll be digging into how OKC’s young prospects performed in Utah and Vegas.

Jalen Williams

Probably the most surprising rookie performance in Summer League to most observers came from Jalen Williams. As a 21 year old college junior, he should be expected to perform a little better than his younger peers, but I would say he exceeded expectations with his play. He averaged 11.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2 assists per game on 50/39/50 splits. His free throw percentage is mildly concerning, but given the percentages in college and volatility in small sample percentages, it’s nothing to be too worried about.

Williams is definitely a Swiss Army knife on offense. He came into the draft as arguably the best PnR passer in the class but shined in an off-ball role in SL as well. His cutting is tremendous, and multiple times throughout these games he made a timely cut for a layup or dunk after OKC’s offense stalled out. He had a slew of dunks in SL, displaying a finishing ability really helped by his length and standing vertical.

I thought his defense was more impressive than it was at Santa Clara. This could be due to a more toned-down offensive role, but he really used his length well in these games. He averaged 1.4 steals per game and has the potential to be a real havoc creator with those extremely long arms of his. His most impressive rep was when he blocked a turnaround Jabari Smith jump shot during a game where he spent most of his time on the floor defending him. It was a very encouraging set of games for Jalen, and I’m excited to watch him play off of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey this upcoming season.