Takeaways: OKC Thunder prove to be legit in blowout win over Portland

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) and guard Cason Wallace (22) react John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) and guard Cason Wallace (22) react John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /
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OKC Thunder
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports /

The OKC Thunder are giving Chet Holmgren more offensive responsibility, and he is a quick study.

The Oklahoma City Thunder selected Chet Holmgren second overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. At the time, the Gonzaga product was viewed as a franchise-altering player. There were questions about whether Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could be a number one option for a team, and Holmgren’s unicorn skillset was and is tantalizing.

Chet Holmgren missed the entire 2022-23 NBA season, which saw the OKC Thunder post 40 wins, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander emerged as a true number-one option. Gilgeous-Alexander was not only a first-time All-Star, but was named to the All-NBA first-team while finishing fifth in MVP voting.

That, along with the emergence of Jalen Williams, took some of the pressure off of Holmgren’s debut this season. However, he has come out of the gate swinging. The seven-footer has looked as good as advertised and is only getting better game-to-game.

In 14 games, Holmgren has turned in 17 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and a steal per game. The OKC Thunder center has been wildly efficient, shooting 56 percent from the floor, 46 percent from beyond the arc, and 90 percent from the free throw line.

During his first season back from a massive injury, he not only played in the second most minutes in his career (just 18 seconds off from his career-high in minutes), he came back the very next night to dominate the competition.

In this game against Portland, the OKC Thunder only needed to play their starters less than 22 minutes, and Holmgren poured in 16 points, going 6-for-6 from the floor, with six rebounds and two blocks.

During this game, Chet Holmgren was used in a more highlighted role offensively, as the two-man game between him and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to grow. It is clear the unicorn prospect is just scratching the surface of his potential.

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