Greatest preseason debut ever? Chet Holmgren put on a show in his first NBA game
Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chet Holmgren took the spotlight in his first game in the NBA. The second overall pick had a dazzling performance, putting up 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 blocks on 4-6 from the 3-point line.
The rookie from Gonzaga University showed glimpses of his two-way talent, touting his preseason debut as one of the greatest ones in NBA history. On Tuesday, Holmgren also broke the Summer league record for blocks.
What makes Holmgren’s offensive bag quite different from his fellow big men is that he can do it all — knock down threes, ferociously get in the paint, score in the midrange, and inside the paint. The 20-year-old proved his hype in his first summer league game by scoring everywhere on the court. The most impressive part was that he used his lanky physique to his advantage on the court, thanks to his speed and height.
Yes, it’s possible that people could be overacting (I, included) after Chet’s first game, but one can’t deny that he will immediately impact the Thunder this season. With his skillset, height, and scoring capabilities, there’s no doubt that Holmgren is a sure lock for a starting five position alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddy. If his performance transitions well in the regular season, OKC is set to win more games.
The best part? Holmgren seems to have that “dawg” or what many now call the Mamba mentality in him. Look at what the camera caught the rookie say on his way to the bench:
Part of what makes a player elite is their ability to be as remarkable on the defensive end. It’s why two-way players (Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetekoumpo, Anthony Davis) are a tier above players with exceptional offensive talent. Based on his first game alone, it’s easy to conclude that Holmgren has the same potential on defense as he does on offense.
With his height, quick footwork, and agility, he’s poised to be a supreme defensive talent. He can defend the perimeter (which has become extremely important for bigs in today’s league), move off-ball, and be a help-side defender. He knows how to communicate and read the opponent’s defense. This is a huge advantage for someone who will probably anchor his team’s defense.
Don’t look now, but the Oklahoma City Thunder just got another gem. There’s a reason why Holmgren received a lot of hype during his collegiate career, and it seems like he has nowhere to go but up. Remember, he’s also going to be playing alongside Gilgeous-Alexander (one of the best young guards in today’s league), and in the next few years, the Thunder might be a force to be reckoned with.