Thunder fans were probably holding their breaths as the news broke out that the number two overall pick Chet Holmgren had suffered apparent ligament damage in his foot just five days ago. After further medical evaluations were done, the news came out that Holmgren will indeed miss the upcoming season with a right foot injury.
This is definitely a massive letdown for Thunder fans who were hoping to watch their young stars play together and possibly shock the league. Holmgren joins a couple of draftees, who were also picked in the top three, that lost their rookie seasons due to injuries.
"Certainly, we are disappointed for Chet, especially given the excitement he had about getting on the floor with his teammates this season — We know Chet has a long career ahead of him within our organization and the Oklahoma City community. One of the things that most impressed us during the process of selecting Chet was his determination and focus. We expect that same tenacity will carry him through this period of time as we work together and support him during his rehabilitation. —
I don't think missing the first year is really going to change the outcome."
As he entered the draft, one of the main questions marks regarding Holmgren was how he would be able to match up against stronger guys because of his weight. According to Presti, Holmgren has been working on that, which sounds promising for Thunder fans. Presti added how Chet has already resumed his weight training and shooting exercises without putting pressure on his foot.
"He's going to get better just by getting stronger, just by seeing things differently, just by learning the NBA – All that's going to be happening. He's going to be able to shoot. He's going to be able to do a lot of things with the ball."
Chet showed off a glimpse of what he could do in the Summer League, and an injury like this might do some harm, but hopefully, it doesn't in the long run. So, although things went a little sideways early on in Chet and OKC's partnership, Sam Presti said he wouldn't change a thing.
"If you asked me before the lottery... you could pick between one or you could pick eight, or, the other option is you could have Chet Holmgren, but you have to wait a year to get him -- I would not let you finish the sentence." Presti told the media.
"...this is Chet's first experience in Oklahoma City. And I would just tell our fans, let him know that you care. Let him know that you have his back, because this is the type of guy that's going to have your back, and he's going to have your back for a long time. — Something positive will come from this as long as we take it in and understand that." He added.
Holmgren participated in a Pro-Am league recently, and that is where he apparently injured his foot. As a fan, you love seeing players participating in leagues like this while not spending too much money in an NBA Arena. You got to admit, though, that this is exactly every NBA executive's biggest nightmare.
"Guys are playing all over the place all the time, everywhere," — "If you have players that love to play, they are going to play basketball. Every time you step on a basketball court, something like this could happen. — It's just part of it." Presti stated.
Presti understands that this is what players who love the game do. Pro-Am leagues with a couple of NBA players are great for the game and the fans, but these unfortunate events are truly something you cannot control.
"We just have to focus on what we can control, and I think that we have a group of guys that will continually get better for quite a long time." Presti said.
Some high-picked draftees in the past didn't let the injuries bother them in their careers; players like Blake Griffin, Joel Embiid, and even Ben Simmons became great players for their teams.
We all hope for the best outcome for the Thunder rookie as he embarks on his rehabilitation journey. Obviously, we'll have to wait a bit longer for that Shai, Giddey, and Chet trio, but I wouldn't be too worried about OKC's successful rebuilding in the last few years.