Chet Holmgren’s debut with the Oklahoma City Thunder couldn’t have gone any better as he helped lift the team to a 98-77 victory over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
Holmgren put up an impressive 23 points, seven rebounds, four assists, one steal and six blocks in nearly 24 minutes. He hit 7-of-9 shots from the floor and went 4-of-6 from deep, showing off his ability to drain a basket at all three levels.
Holmgren opened his second defensive possession with a block on Jazz center Kofi Cockburn with 8:51 remaining in the first quarter. Following that, Oklahoma City jumped out to a quick 14-point lead after the rookie forward nailed two three pointers from the top of the key with just under six minutes remaining. Rookie guard Jalen Williams, who scored 17 points on a 8-for-11 clip, capped off the Thunder’s run with a layup with just over 25 seconds remaining in the quarter and OKC led 29-9 at the end the period.
Utah outscored the Thunder 23-18 in the second quarter, but OKC still led 47-32 when half was over. Homlgren continued to wow the crowd with a 25-foot 3 and Dirk Nowitzki-esque fadeaway jumper midway before the end of the first half.
The 20-year-old rookie had NBA experts and fans salivating over his performance, and they cannot wait to see what he will be able to accomplish once the 2022-23 season officially begins this fall.
The Thunder selected Holmgren with the second overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft out of Gonzaga. After a freshman season that saw him average 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 3.7 blocks per game for the Bulldogs, fans knew he would be a star at the next level.
If Holmgren can continue to play at this high of a level moving forward, the Thunder should be one of the best teams to watch next season. They boast one of the most impressive young lineups in the NBA that includes Josh Giddey, Aleksej Pokusevski and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
A couple of other notables from Tuesday’s Thunder-Jazz matchup:
Jalen Williams (2022 12th overall pick): 17 PTS, 5 REB
Josh Giddey (2021 sixth overall pick): 14 PTS, 5 REB, 11 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK
Oklahoma City finished the game outscoring the Jazz 51-45, shooting 36-for-73 and 8-for-39 from three.
Holmgren and the Thunder will be in action again on Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies in Salt Lake City Summer League action. Las Vegas Summer League will begin on July 7 and run through July 17.