The Oklahoma City Thunder don't need to make many changes early on this season. The Thunder have roared out to an impressive 13-6 record behind the play of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren. Oklahoma City's net rating is +8.3, which is the 2nd best mark in the league. If anything, OKC is ahead of schedule in the rebuild and shouldn't make any drastic changes.
But, if Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault did decide to tinker with the rotation, there is one young player on the Thunder who could use some minutes as the season carries on, as difficult as those may be to come by in the rotation right now.
While you could make the argument for a few different players on the Thunder bench, here's the player who needs to see his minutes bumped moving forward.
Jaylin Williams deserves more playing time on the Thunder
You can understand why Williams is playing less this season than he was last year. Williams started in 36 games for the Thunder, averaging 18.7 minutes a night as the starting center down the stretch. Williams performed admirably in that role for a rookie, as he defended, passed, and shot the ball pretty well when called upon. As a second-round pick, it's safe to say Williams greatly exceeded all reasonable expectations as a rookie.
Typically that would lead to an increased role in Year 2, but the Thunder need to play Chet Holmgren as much as possible. With Holmgren absorbing a ton of minutes at center, Williams has slowly seen his workload decrease. Williams is only averaging 13 minutes a night now, and is being used more based on matchups than he was last year when he received consistent playing time.
That kind of role switch can be difficult for a young player, but Williams has still been effective despite not shooting the ball as well as he did last year. Per 36 minutes of time this season, the Arkansas standout is averaging over 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists per game while still defending at a high level.
Williams could still be an important part of the Thunder's future, but devoting more playing time his way might be necessary to let that development continue. Williams is a unique player who can guard bigger centers and stretch the floor while making lots of little hustle plays that greatly contribute to winning. Players like Jaylin Williams excel in the postseason, but at such a young age, Williams should be given time to expand his skill set and not feel pressed to prove he's worthy of playing time.
There are no real clear solutions to this playing time problem, though. Holmgren is going to play around 30 of the 48 available center minutes for the Thunder, which will leave JayWill picking up whatever's leftover. It would be interesting to see Williams and Holmgren in the same frontcourt together — that pairing has only played a handful of possessions together, but you could see it working against some of the league's bigger teams.
One way or another, it would be nice to see Thunder big man Jaylin Williams get playing time more consistent with what he received as a rookie. Of course, with the Thunder rolling and playing like one of the league's best teams on both ends of the floor, there's no rush to action for any significant changes right now in OKC. It's more something to store away for when the postseason inevitably comes calling for this young and talented Thunder team.