The Oklahoma City Thunder surely pleased their fans with their haul coming out of the 2022 NBA Draft. The Thunder selected Chet Holmgren with the second overall pick, 15 years after the franchise drafted Kevin Durant in the same draft position. However, Thunder fans will have to wait for Holmgren's debut after he suffered a Lisfranc injury following an appearance at the Seattle CrawsOver Pro-Am event.
Nevertheless, the 20-year old center knows that despite all the criticisms, his love for the game overshadows any form of regret he might be feeling.
Chet Holmgren revealed to reporters his true feelings about participating at Pro-Am events despite the injury blow he took.
“Basketball players are going to play basketball. You have to feed the love of the game. I don’t want an injury like this to take away from that,” Holmgren said, per Brandon Rahbar, a beat writer for Daily Thunder.
The center out of Gonzaga also showed wisdom and maturity beyond his years. He acknowledged that criticisms will always be part of his (enviable) gig as a professional basketball player.
“There’s freedom of speech and criticism [that] comes along with anything,” Holmgren added.
Chet Holmgren on criticism of NBA guys playing at pro-am events:
“There’s freedom of speech and criticism comes along with anything. Basketball players are going to play basketball. You have to feed the love of the game. I don’t want an injury like this to take away from that.”
— Brandon Rahbar (@BrandonRahbar) September 29, 2022
After tearing up the Summer League, Chet Holmgren continued to torch any and all opposition during the ensuing Pro-Am event, as he dropped 34 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 blocks(!). He displayed his tantalizing potential to be one of the best shot blockers in the league, in addition to his otherworldly offensive skill in full. During the next event he participated in, Holmgren even managed to defend a rampaging LeBron James drive to the hoop, but he ended up injuring himself in the process.
At the end of the day, no one should blame Holmgren for showing out in these events, especially with his contract containing a clause that specifically allows him to participate in sanctioned events like the CrawsOver Pro Am.
Still, it would have been a treat to see the 7-footer share the court with Thunder up-and-comers Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey in spite of concerns that Holmgren's frame would make him vulnerable to both injuries and to being bullied by larger big men like Joel Embiid.
Nevertheless, once Chet Holmgren makes his return, hopefully he is able to take care of his body in much greater detail so he could have a long, productive NBA career.