“Tay has all the talent in the world to make it to this level,” said Thunder assistant coach Mark Bryant, who is coaching OKC's summer league team in Orlando.
“If he plays with a constant motor, he'll be fine.”
That's part of Williams' problem.
His raw talent isn't enough to warrant a spot on a championship contender, and he's still prone to stretches of inconsistency.
There are days like Tuesday, when Williams came off the bench against Indiana to score 10 points and grab six of his game-high nine rebounds in just 17 minutes of work.
Then there are days like Thursday, when Williams had four points and four rebounds in 22 minutes against Brooklyn. He took a team-low three shot attempts and looked like the odd man out on offense despite the Thunder playing without cogs Reggie Jackson and Cole Aldrich (rest), or Lazar Hayward (flu-like symptoms) and Perry Jones III (sprained ankle).
“It's all about what Tay does,” Bryant said. “He has to work on his game morning, noon and night. I think he's definitely gotten better since he's been here.”
Williams' athleticism makes him a ferocious rebounder. It's currently his most NBA-ready skill. But there seems to be so much more room for growth.
Since starting his professional career, Williams has bulked up and become even more physical. But the absence of a consistent jumper, the ability to create his own shot off the dribble or defend the perimeter has held Williams back. Developing those three areas would be asking a lot, but if he implemented them his value would skyrocket in the states like it has after just a year overseas. It also would allow Williams to be a true combo forward, meaning he could play minutes as a small forward or power forward.
“Right now, it's about just getting better and improving my game,” Williams said.
While he does, it seems the NBA will have to wait.