The Oklahoma City Thunder have been exceeding all preseason expectations so far this season, as they currently sit second in the Western Conference, behind only division rival the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Because Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is all but a lock to make the All-Star game in February, the next question becomes, can the Thunder get a second All-Star nod?
Well, Thunder Nation, the first round of fan voting returns is in, and they are saying there's a chance, as Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren cracked the top 10 among West frontcourt players, currently placing ninth with 186,582 votes. This means Holmgren has the 32nd most votes among 520 eligible players.
So far this year, Holmgren has appeared in 33 games; he is averaging 17.4 points per game, grabbing 7.5 rebounds per game, dishing 2.6 assists per game, and blocking 2.6 shots per game on 54.4 percent shooting from the floor, 40.7 percent accuracy from beyond the arc, and 83.2 percent from the free throw stripe.
How does Chet Holmgren compare to the rest of the frontcourt?
Pretty good in terms of head-to-head matchups, the Thunder recently secured wins over Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets twice, along with a victory over Karl-Anthony Towns and the T-Wolves, and Holmgren played a large role in those wins.
One thing that will hurt Holmgren is a lack of national TV sightings because the voting is made up of a 50 percent fan vote, with media and player voting accounting for 25 percent each; the less he is seen, the fewer votes he will garner, as opposed to his vying peers.
With that said, OKC has some national TV appearances coming up that Holmgren could potentially use to bolster his All-Star case. One of those games is versus fellow ROY candidate and All-Star hopeful Victor Wembanyama.
How often do rookies make the All-Star team? It is a rather rare occurrence, as only 17 rooks have made the cut during the 3-point era. Magic Johnson was the first in 1980, and Oklahoma native Blake Griffin was the most recent rookie to make the All-Star squad in 2011.
Remember Thunder Nation, these voting results are only for All-Star starters. Is Holmgren worthy of such an honor? Probably not just yet, perhaps in the coming years. Do not fret because he will still have a chance to make it when the coaches select the reserves.