The OKC Thunder are nearly set for their preseason opener against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, October 9th. With Media Day behind us, training camp is in full swing! Daily, we report to the practice facility to talk to two Thunder players and head coach Mark Daigneault. On Thursday, Jalen Williams took his turn to address the media.
Jalen Williams understands the importance of a good first impression. Despite his NBA debut going off the rails, courtesy of an elbow to the eye, Williams rallied to finish runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting, making first-team All-Rookie, and endearing himself to the Thunder fanbase in year one. Now, it is time for his draft classmate, Chet Holmgren, to make his NBA debut.
The OKC Thunder are set to play their preseason opener on Monday; Jalen Williams is “excited” to see Chet Holmgren’s debut.
Chet Holmgren is the highest pick of this OKC Thunder rebuild and the highest-drafted player on the roster. Selected 2nd overall in the 2022 NBA Draft, the Gonzaga big man was pegged to be a unicorn, a generational shot-blocker with a sweet three-point stroke and guard-like skills. During his year on the shelf, the Thunder saw a 16-win improvement catapult them into the play-in tournament, finishing a game shy of the NBA playoffs.
In that span, a new generational big man prospect hit the NBA scene, as the San Antonio Spurs selected Victor Wembanyama with the 1st overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Many around the League are calling Wembanyama the best prospect since LeBron James. This has created a natural rivalry between the two big men, and the NBA is not shying away from it.
As Jalen Williams concluded his Media Availability on Thursday, I asked the second-year power forward if Monday’s matchup had any additional juice, being that it is Chet Holmgren’s debut and it is against Victor Wembanyama.
Jalen Williams didn’t give any bulletin board material to the perceived new rivals; he rightfully kept the answer on Chet Holmgren, mentioning he is “Excited” to see Chet debut and play alongside him. This has been over a year in the making.
Though, it is impossible to deny the overall gravity of this preseason game. Ultimately, these key players will play 15 minutes at best in all likelihood, but being at home against Victor Wembanyama will add to the excitement in Bricktown for Chet Holmgren’s preseason debut.