With the thrilling NBA season inching closer, all eyes were on the Oklahoma City Thunder during the league's featured "30 Teams in 30 Days" series this past Sunday. This special series on NBATV not only replays memorable games from the past but also provides fans with an exhaustive season preview via the NBA's official portal.
Head Coach Mark Daigneault had an insightful conversation with seasoned journalist, Steve Aschburner, shining a light on the highly-anticipated second season of Jalen Williams. Last season, Williams made an indelible mark in the NBA, delivering a stellar rookie performance that secured his position on the first-team all-rookie list.
This commendable feat also saw him as the close second for the coveted Rookie of the Year title. His season statistics are reflective of his prowess on the court: a commendable average of 14 points, four rebounds, three assists, and an impressive 1.9 stocks (a combination of steals and blocks) across 75 games.
Daigneault Lauds Williams' Dedication
Speaking of Williams, Daigneault couldn't hide his excitement. "Jalen's commitment over the summer has been second to none. He's honed his skills, amplified his physical agility, and was even a part of the Team USA Select team," said the Thunder coach.
He further elaborated, "Setting expectations can be tricky, but there's no denying his immense growth. He deserves accolades for his dedication." Daigneault went on to laud Williams' in-depth understanding of basketball nuances.
"Jalen isn't just about flashy plays; he grasps the subtleties - from effective cutting, optimal spacing to even the most basic ball movements. What makes him stand out defensively is his sheer determination combined with his stature." The coach couldn't emphasize enough that Williams has "meticulously crafted the foundations of his game.
Even on off-nights, when his score sheet might not be brimming, his contribution remains invaluable because of those fundamentals." The former 12th pick from 2022 has not only showcased offensive efficiency but has also been a defensive stalwart, bringing a transformative impact to a team that witnessed a whopping 16-win improvement last season.
As the OKC Thunder's new season beckons, expectations are sky-high with Williams likely to grace the starting lineup, building on the 62 starts out of his 75 appearances last year.