The Oklahoma City Thunder's slim hopes of possibly contending for a play-in spot next season were dashed when their No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren was ruled out for his entire rookie season with a Lisfranc injury on his right foot. The injury was sustained in the Crawsover pro-am game hosted by Jamal Crawford where the game had to be canceled because the floor was too wet.
Holmgren got hurt while defending LeBron James, which had people question whether he was ready to play in the NBA as a skinny 7-footer. Evan Turner believes this injury could be a blessing for Chet as he can use the year to get his body ready for the NBA's physicality under an organization that values him.
"I think it's a big difference because he's only 19 and like we said earlier, his body is still developing. Think about how much of an advantage is going to get like having NBA training, having, you know, NBA workouts, you know, getting his body back healthy and coming back hopefully next year maybe 20 or 25 pounds heavier and fully ready for the NBA."
"Go through a redshirt year in a league where you have no problem and you just keep working out and they're prepping for you. Man, he's in a great situation because they're building a future based on him." (h/t SportsKeeda)
Is Chet Holmgren The Franchise Centerpiece For OKC Thunder?
The Oklahoma City Thunder had to have set a goal for when they stop tanking to acquire the best players in the draft. Their last pick, Josh Giddey, turned out to be a great choice and he has already established himself as a core piece for the Thunder. The only question is whether they value Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as much as they do Holmgren.
SGA has been linked to possible trade talks. If the Thunder doesn't allow SGA to start competing at the highest level, frustration can brew. Players from his draft class like Luka Doncic and Trae Young have elevated themselves to regular All-Star and All-NBA appearances, whereas SGA is stuck in his position in OKC.
If SGA gets moved, Holmgren and Giddey will be the pairing that OKC hopes to use for their era of success. Sadly, that is dependent on how Chet recovers from his injury. If can have the same success the likes of Blake Griffin, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons had after redshirting their rookie season, he will be just fine.