2018-19 SEASON STATS
Listen to Jim Eichenhofer & Daniel Sallerson's Review of Kenrich Williams' 2018-19 Performance
Sixty players were chosen during the 2018 NBA Draft. Kenrich Williams wasn’t one of them.
Still, when Williams conducted his April 10 exit interview at the Pelicans’ practice facility, one local reporter accurately described the rookie as a “cult figure” among the team’s fan base. The journey from undrafted prospect from TCU to every-game NBA starter took a while, but Williams’ patience and behind-the-scenes work paid off in February, March and April, when he logged nearly 1,000 minutes. Prior to Feb. 1, he’d only been on the court for a total of 158 minutes, primarily in mop-up time of one-sided games.
“It was crazy. It was a huge transition, for sure,” Williams said April 10. “But I’m just grateful for the opportunity, and thankful I got to show what I can do. This season was great. It’s been a learning experience. I got to learn a lot.”
Williams’ offseason to-do list includes participating in July summer league in Las Vegas, where he excelled in ’18 for Denver’s entry, as well as working diligently on his jumper. Like many first-year pros, the Waco, Texas, native experienced ups and downs in his offensive efficiency, partly due to some streakiness from beyond the arc.
“Definitely become a more consistent shooter, and just working on my all-around game, everything,” Williams said of his summer objectives. “You just want to find a rhythm in the game and find your spots. I know I’m playing with more talented guys. (It’s important to) find a spot on the court where I’m comfortable.”
Despite only being a prominent part of the rotation for the final 30-ish games, Williams registered nine games of double-digit scoring and four double-digit rebounding nights. He proved to be the type of “glue guy” whose impact was difficult to measure via the stat sheet, however. New Orleans coaches often referred to Williams as a “winning player” who provided sometimes-underrated contributions such as drawing charges, grabbing loose balls and keeping possessions alive by securing contested offensive rebounds. Williams’ comfort level on the hardwood grew as his first season progressed, as did the belief in his ability from those around him.
“It was definitely huge. You get that confidence from other players and the coaches, it gives you that much more confidence,” Williams said. “You’re able to go out there and play comfortably and play hard.
“I stayed ready,” he added of having to be patient before getting his chance to contribute. “If you stay ready, you can’t be surprised. I stayed ready for my moment.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Williams scoring average in his first seven games after joining the rotation for a Jan. 29 win at Houston. He also averaged 9.4 rebounds during that same span.
Times Williams logged double-digit minutes out of New Orleans’ first 48 games of the regular season. After that, he did so in 33 out of the final 34 games.
Steals per 36 minutes for Williams, fourth-best rate on the Pelicans. Among the team’s non-bigs, he was first in offensive rebounds per 36 minutes (1.8).
Top 15 Kenrich Williams Photos from the Pelicans 2018-19 Season VIEW GALLERY