Chet Holmgren clears up OKC Thunder Position-Less debate

Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images)
Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images) /

Position-less basketball! A phrase many OKC Thunder have grown tired of, or are confused by, or embrace as a way of life, the future of basketball! A debate as old as time — or at least since November of 2020 — Who is on Point Guard? Who is at Center? What is on Shooting Guard? Mark Daigneault and Sam Presti have each painted a position-less picture in Bricktown, but despite their best efforts to explain this plan, some fans still want to get to the bottom of who is playing all five of the standard positions on the court.

After all, the OKC Thunder did play an entire season without a center, they have seen Jalen Williams and Josh Giddey play all five positions in a single game, and no one really knows how to classify Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. If you polled five people who watched all 82 Thunder games, you would be lucky not to come up with five different combinations of who played which position.

Hoops Hype is releasing their annual position rankings to bridge the gap from the offseason to the start of the 2023-24 NBA season, in what is now nearly a year around sport. These rankings, of course, cause confusion for OKC Thunder fans as no one knows which column to be mad at! Hoops Hype actually showed Shai Gilgeous-Alexander a ton of respect by placing him third in their point guard rankings, but that did not stop Chet Holmgren from bringing some backlash to the entity.

OKC Thunder big man Chet Holmgren clears up the Position-Less basketball debate ahead of the 2023-24 season.

Each night as the OKC Thunder revealed their starting lineups, it was always interesting to see the order the players would be tweeted by local media. I always went with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Lu Dort, Jalen Williams, and Jaylin Williams, while others placed Josh Giddey at the one. Heck, Basketball Reference pegs Giddey as a power forward! So as Hoops Hype placed Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the point guard category, it did not even raise an eyebrow for me until OKC Thunder big man Chet Holmgren was perplexed by the outlets shooting guard list.

Is that it? Is the debate over? Is Josh Giddey, assuming Holmgren is not referring to Jack White, the official point guard of the Oklahoma City Thunder? What does Chet Holmgren classify Jalen Williams as? Can the Santa Clara product play power forward? (as he did all of last season!)

Hoops Hype politely directed Holmgren to their point guard rankings, though it is still awesome to see the second overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft stick up for his teammate without hesitation.

For now, something tells me OKC Thunder fans will still struggle with the idea of position-less basketball. Though, out of respect for Holmgren, I will also tweet Josh Giddey’s name in the point guard slot when releasing the starting lineups.

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