The Oklahoma City Thunder are prepared for takeoff in the next season, with Chet Holmgren acting as the yardstick for their ultimate potential.
The 21-year-old prospect missed the whole 2022–2023 NBA season due to a foot injury he suffered in a pro-am game over the summer. But now that he’s back and competing in the NBA Summer League, the Thunder big man is showcasing the promise that earned him the second overall choice in the 2022 NBA Draught.
He told a room full of reporters that he scarcely really sees it at this point, which will come as welcome news to Thunder fans.
“My foot feels wonderful. It’s as if the injury never occurred. I wouldn’t know anything had happened to my foot if you obliterated my memories, Holmgren informed him.
Holmgren may have recovered from the foot injury, but it will take a lot more work to be back in playing form. He acknowledged that getting to that level before the start of the next season is still a work in progress.
“In terms of conditioning, there are many obstacles you must overcome before you can resume playing. It’s difficult to assess yourself and determine where you are when you can’t play a game for a year. I must undoubtedly continue to work on it, but by the time training camp opens, I’ll be ready.
Holmgren made his NBA Summer League debut in 2023 with 15 points and 9 rebounds in 29 minutes. He also made a number of forceful swats during the game, serving as a reminder to the crowd that he may be the rim-protector Oklahoma City was lacking the whole previous season. In order to keep up with the rigours of the NBA game, he allegedly added some weight to his otherwise slim physique.
The Thunder may surprise some people this season with Holmgren joining a youthful, dynamic core that includes Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, and Jalen Williams.