Chet Holmgren receives massive compliment from fellow unicorn

The OKC Thunder have seen Chet Holmgren immediately make an impact this season, and Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis is taking notice after their recent matchup.
Dec 31, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) smiles
Dec 31, 2023; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) smiles / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder selected Chet Holmgren second overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. All signs pointed to Holmgren being a unicorn, a franchise-altering piece, and at the time the OKC Thunder had a lot of questions.

Since draft night, the Gonzaga big man missed an entire NBA season with a Lisfranc Fracture, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leaped into superstardom, proving he could be a number one option, 12th overall pick Jalen Williams from that same draft flashed All-Star potential, Mark Daigneault is recognized as one of the best coaches in the NBA, and the Thunder have found a plethora of functioning high-end rotational pieces.

The OKC Thunder always had high hopes for Chet Holmgren, but his play on the floor has to shock them at times still to be this good, this fast, off such a severe injury. As a rookie through his first 33 games, Holmgren is averaging 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists, 2.6 blocks, and nearly a steal per game.

While the counting stats are impressive, so is the seven-footer efficiency, shooting 54 percent from the floor, 40 percent from beyond the arc, and 83 percent from the charity stripe.

Fellow unicorn Kristaps Porzingis praises Chet Holmgren after their recent matchup.

On Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Thunder knocked off the league's best Boston Celtics in the Paycom Center, 127-123.

In that contest, Chet Holmgren knocked down a clutch triples in the fourth quarter on his way to four blocks, 14 points, seven assists, and three rebounds. Holmgren went 3-for-5 from distance and shot 55 percent from the floor.

On the opposite side, Kristaps Porzingis was one of the best Celtics on the floor, turning in 34 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, and three blocks, making 66 percent of his shots.

Porzingis knows all about the pressures of being a high-pick, a non-traditional big man viewed as a unicorn, and being under a microscope to start your NBA career.

The former 4th overall pick was asked about Chet Holmgren following their matchup: "I love his mindset, just the way he plays, you can tell that he is a hard worker, and playing really hard."

The Celtic's big man called Chet Holmgren "The real deal" while praising his efficiency and admitting he is a bit shocked that the Gonzaga product has been able to burst onto the scene like this.

Between his defensive impact and high-level shot-making, with elite-level situational processing of the game, there is no denying how large of a part Holmgren has played in the Thunder's 20-10 start.

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