Thunder’s Rookie Chet Holmgren: Rocking the Summer League in Style

The 2022 NBA Draft 2nd overall pick made by the Oklahoma City Thunder was the very tall centre, Chet Holmgren. Big things were predicted for Chet in OKC with the army of young talent the Thunder have. However, Holmgren sustained a nasty injury before the 2022-23 season started and he spent his rookie year sidelined. Now Holmgren is back and he is exciting fans and Thunder coaches with his Summer League offering thus far.

Chet Holmgren
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

How significant is Chet Holmgren’s NBA Summer League return to action?

After an 11-month absence due to a right foot Lisfranc injury, Chet Holmgren is finally healthy again and he made his return to the court during the Thunder’s win over the Utah Jazz in the Summer League on Monday night.

“The foot feels great,” Holmgren said. “It’s like the injury never happened, other than everything I had to go through obviously. But at this point, if you erased my memory, I wouldn’t know that anything had happened to my foot other than the scars from surgery… not being able to play a game for a year, it’s really, really hard to test and see where you are.”

Holmgren started slow in his first game in 11 months and he didn’t score in the 1st quarter. He warmed up quickly after that and a series of blocks + a 40-yard one-touch assists ignited him to end up with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks and 2 assists in 29 minutes of play. Chet was a monster inside the paint, he not only had 4 blocks but forced shooters to miss at least a dozen other shots with his long hands.

Holmgren also showed very good footwork and was attacking the rim with aggression. His main highlight though was the 2nd quarter one-touch assist for a layup that reminded us of something LeBron James could do, not a player who is yet to play his first NBA game.

Showing so much potential and great fitness in his first competitive match in 11 months immediately sparked a conversation regarding Chet’s chances to win Rookie of the Year.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

Can Holmgren challenge ‘Wemby‘ for the Rookie of the Year trophy?

As Chet never played in his first year since he was drafted he still qualifies as a rookie in his year 2. It seems almost unthinkable to consider anyone but the 2023 NBA Draft‘s number 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama as the Rookie of the Year. Yet, there seem to be many that believe Chet Holmgren could have a case for this trophy himself.

Chet will be playing in the better team this coming season. He has much better defensive skills and rim-protection abilities than Wemby. If Holmgren can stay healthy and averages double-double on top of producing monster numbers defensively, who knows he might have a shot at the Rookie of the Year trophy.

What impact could fully fit Chet Holmgren has on the Thunder’s season?

The Thunder’s roster is full of young talented players, led by their star point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. If all goes well OKC could be real playoff contenders and Chet Holmgren will be crucial if this is to happen.

The Thunder lacked size and paint protection last season. This all changes when Chet is on the floor, so we believe that despite the unfortunate year-delay to his NBA journey Chet Holmgren will be a player worth watching this coming season as he establishes his place in the league.

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About the author


Iskra had a promising, at least she believed so, tennis and volleyball careers as a junior but a series of injuries ended her hopes to become a professional athlete very early.

Instead, she focused all her energy on her other passion, writing. For over a decade, Iskra had been a freelance sports writer. Football, basketball and tennis are the main fields of her expertise.