The OKC Thunder ventured north to Salt Lake City, Utah, this past week for some Summer League action. Chet Holmgren was all that OKC Thunder fans had on their mind going into these games.
Before Monday night against the Utah Jazz, it had been close to a full calendar year since Holmgren had taken the floor in an OKC Thunder uniform. Coming off a serious injury like a Lisfranc, fans had to temper their expectations, especially after the highlight film that Holmgren put together last year in SLC.
That 2022-2023 Summer League mixtape that Holmgren put on tape had many Thunder fans in a chokehold as they awaited the return of the number 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft. It was a beacon of hope that many fans held onto and watched with the same comforting feelings that toddlers get from their favorite stuffed animal or blanket.
3 Things to watch in Las Vegas for the OKC Thunder in Summer League?
This was a skillset Thunder fans had either never seen before or hadn’t seen in a very long time. Holmgren looked like a created 2k player with all his skills set to 99. I am not sure you could have scripted a better debut than what he had a year ago. The full arsenal of skills were on display: rebounding, rim protection, passing, ball handling, scoring, and stretching the floor to 3 and more, all wowed fans and the NBA community. All of this being said, Thunder fans were on eggshells hoping post-injury rehab and return that, he could show some of the same qualities that made him look so special as a prospect and last year in Utah.
Holmgren appropriately was slow out of the gate in his first in-game action back on the floor, but that didn’t last very long as Holmgren got going mainly on the defensive end, shutting down the lane. He also found his touch inside, abused slow-footed big defenders on the perimeter with his pump fakes, and got to the line at a nice rate.
The best part? We are just getting started. The OKC Thunder will now go to Las Vegas to participate in Summer League, joining the other 29 franchises for some hoops hysteria.
Three games down and at least four more to go in sin city. We have learned a lot about the Thunder’s Summer League squad, but we also still have some questions.
Let’s take a chance and roll the dice to try to guess the top 3 things OKC Thunder fans should watch for in part two of Summer League in Vegas.