Latest NBA Leads

Anyone Who Thought For One Second That Chet Holmgren Couldn't Play Is a Bozo

Kyle Koster
Alex Goodlett/GettyImages
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Chet Holmgren made his Summer League debut for the Oklahoma City Thunder last night and the early returns suggest that Sam Presti's hoarding of draft picks could work out in the end. Looking lean and mean, the Gonzaga product was the talk of an otherwise sleepy sports night by putting up 23 points, grabbing seven rebounds, rejecting six shots, and doling out four assists.

Holmgren set a Summer League record in becoming the first player to ever block at least five shots and make four three-pointers. Overall, he was 7-for-9 from the field and oozed both ruthless efficience and style. It's hard to imagine anyone making a better first impression without dropping half a week's salary buying flowers for mom.

We've never seen an NBA superstar have a body like Holmgren's. Spiking the football would be premature and also a weird thing to do on a basketball court. It's only one game that doesn't count in any meaningful standings. But after months and months of hearing that either Paolo Banchero or Jabari Smith is the more accomplished and refined player right now, it was jarring to see that analysis rendered a bit silly. And it usually went alongside the idea Holmgren has the highest ceiling. So if this is just the first chapter and the ceiling is way off in the distance, look out.

Perhaps I'm taking aim at a straw man. That's very possible. Though I would tell you, with some confidence, that Orlando Magic fans straight-up did not have a good time last night and are hoping they don't have forever regret.

No matter what happens, Holmgren's breakout performance was some much needed spice. Most of us saw it coming. Now the light's been completely turned on and is quite blinding.

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