On Sunday, the Oklahoma City Thunder were beaten down by the Denver Nuggets. After starting 2-0 for the first time since the 2016 season, thanks to a come-from-behind win in Cleveland, the fanbase was buzzing around the OKC Thunder’s home opener. In Chet Holmgren’s first official game playing in front of the home crowd, he had to match up with Nikola Jokic.
The Denver Nuggets are the reigning champs for a reason, and they flexed their muscles on this young Thunder squad. Oklahoma City getting hammered by the Nuggets is not surprising, and they will be back in the saddle tonight against Detroit.
Chet Holmgren even fared well in this contest; while Jokic filled up the stat sheet (as he does against everyone), Holmgren tossed in 19 points and four rebounds while shooting 58 percent from the floor.
The OKC Thunder fanbase has questioned if Chet Holmgren should add weight, and Nikola Jokic shares the same.
Chet Holmgren’s debut has been a year in the making, and throughout that time, Holmgren has been under fire by many across the NBA landscape about needing to gain weight with fear that he would simply evaporate into thin air due to his slight frame after one shoulder bump from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Joel Embiid.
Well, Holmgren has battled with two of the three and is still standing. I guess we will see what Joel Embiid does on November 25th in the Paycom Center. Ultimately, this has always been a faulty narrative, especially when one of the best representations of the perfect NBA body in Embiid has been one of the most injury-riddled players in the league.
The simple fact is that 99.99 percent of people who comment on basketball are not Doctors and certainly have no hands-on experience with these athletes. So our basis on buzzwords like “Injury Prone” is based on whether they pop up on the injury report, devoid of context, and a lot of hysteria with no backtracking.
To this point, Chet Holmgren’s lone injury in his entire basketball life was a fluke play on a wet court in Seattle. It had nothing to do with how skinny he is. If Chet Holmgren never gets hurt again, no one will apologize for the theatrics about his frame, but if he pops on the injury report a few times, the Victory laps will rival the Daytona 500.
Following Sunday’s game, Nikola Jokic fanned the Chet is too skinny flames by saying, “He’s a really talented guy, but this is his first year. He’s still learning everything. … I think he needs experience. I think he needs to be a little bit fatter, to be honest.”
After the two matched up on the hardwood, that could be Jokic’s genuine takeaway of how Holmgren could improve.
Across the hall, the Gonzaga big man shared that he has to “be better” on the defensive end against Jokic and can not just shrug off this performance because that is the league MVP.
While it is great to hold yourself to such a high standard, and as a competitor, you will never share the same “Well, he is just unstoppable” sentiment as fans, it is true at the end of the day.
Chet Holmgren was not x amount of pounds from stopping Nikola Jokic. No matter who you hold up as the model NBA big man body, they do not even come close to stifling Jokic. Holmgren was in proper position all night and rarely lapsed on his assignments, but the League MVP did MVP things.