Chet Holmgren dominates 2022 NBA Summer League debut

The Oklahoma City Thunder spent the past year preparing for the 2022 NBA draft, and after some luck in the lottery, it became clear that they were quickly focused on having Chet Holmgren their second pick in the draft.

The OKC Thunder are hoping the Gonzaga product can be the next cornerstone of their franchise, helping Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, the newly expanded Lu Dort and the company get over the hump and eventually complete the rebuild. For this to work the way Thunder General Manager Sam Presti envisions, Chet Holmgren will have to pull himself together.

Tuesday saw the first look at Chet Holmgren in an Oklahoma City Thunder uniform. The Oklahoma City Thunder faced the Utah Jazz in their first game of the Salt Lake City Summer League, and the second pick in last month’s draft didn’t disappoint.

Chet Holmgren, OKC Thunder’s second overall pick, dominates against Tacko Fall and the Utah Jazz in his 2022 NBA Summer League debut

The Oklahoma City Thunder rookie hit the floor looking just at home. The 7’1 tall man cast offensive magic like a guard. Chet Holmgren scored 23 points on nine shots, shooting four for six from beyond the arc and five for five from the free throw line. Holmgren averaged seven rebounds, four assists, a steal, and six blocks per game.

Chet Holmgren was a 26-plus in the game, beating a Utah Summer League record with six shots on defense and showing off his rim protection in his first game as a pro. He looked good defensively in every way. His height and length allowed him to change shots on the rim and recover on the rim. He even blocked 7’6 Tacko Fall to force a jump ball.

The fun started on offense. Kam Woods, the head coach of the Thunder Summer League, really allowed Holmgren to take the reins and get the ball to the ground as a playmaker. We were able to see more in a game with OKC than we did all season with Gonzaga a year ago just because of the better spacing and teammates that the NBA offers.

From his one-legged fade-away jumps, to his trailing three-pointers assisted by Josh Giddey, to his three-pointers from the jump, flashy passes, consistent confidence and controlled pace, you couldn’t ask for more.

Chet Holmgren looked like a future NBA star in every way. From his confidence, socializing, aggressive nature, skills and everything in between. Holmgren also offered fans a special moment after the game when he refused to do a side interview with ESPN unless Josh Giddey accompanied him.

We get it, it’s only one (1) NBA Summer League game, and it’s all just an exhibition that’s hardly NBA basketball with countless examples of past Summer League flash in the pans that never materialized, but Let OKC Thunder fans have this one.

After two straight tanking seasons, it’s time to have some hope and optimism. No one thinks Holmgren is destined for Springfield just for a league game this summer, but let’s let the fans enjoy that game. There are examples of Summer League stars not making it, there are also examples of NBA stars who also dominated the Summer League ranks. The bottom line is that you’d rather make your second overall player look as good as bad.

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