30 Teams in 30 Days: Thunder picks up the pieces following Chet Holmgren’s injury

Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are two of the few players who have proven successful in rebuilding the Thunder squad.

Oklahoma City Thunder

2021-22 record: 24-58

The main additions: Chet Holmgren, Osman Deng and Galen Williams (Draft 2022)

Key subtractions: no one

Last season: It was difficult to keep track of Thunder with an ever-changing and evolving roster, as the franchise spent the entire season sifting through corpses to determine who was an asset and who wasn’t. Outside of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Darius Bazley, and Josh Giddey, the others on the OKC list seemed rather anonymous. Such was the life of a team in the early stages of redevelopment, as Thunder continues its search for an identity after losing franchise fans Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in recent seasons.

Summer Summary: In a cruel twist of fate, the franchise that moved from Seattle suffered a setback, years later, in Seattle. This is where Holmgren, while playing in a pro-August match, fell on his right foot and sustained an injury to Lefranc. He finished his 2022-23 season before you start. These injuries usually take a year to heal, but as with all adult men’s foot injuries, they are complex.

For Holmgren, this can be done in one of two ways. He can resume normal NBA life and even thrive despite temporary delays, like Joel Embiid (boat bone). Or this may be a problem and long-term after rehabilitation. Other highly skilled players suffered knee injuries (Blake Griffin, Greg Odin) and sat for a year; In Odin’s case, the disease was chronic.

There’s also Holmgren’s problem, lack of weight, strength and whether that will affect his ability to stay healthy. Instead of becoming a mathematician in an armchair, it’s better to let the process actually develop and see what happens. This will have to wait for another year.

Purely from a basketball standpoint, Holmgren’s body was a talking point even before he was injured. The OKC, who picked second place in the draft, picked every eligible player except for one (Paolo Banchero, surprise). No. 1 overall pick by Orlando Magic). So, OKC President Sam Presti was faced with an interesting decision: should you take Jabari Smith Jr. Or Holmgren? They were the second best odds according to almost all scout reports.

Presti ranks among the NBA’s best evaluators for young talent, and draft history Since taking control of the club in 2007 he has put him there. When Presti said Holmgren was the choice, you simply nodded and assumed he had done his homework and chose wisely again.

If there’s a positive side to Shit Holmgren’s injury, that means he’ll be more prepared when he takes the floor.

However, the draft is an imprecise science. There are no guarantees, and the general rule is that when you choose among the top five, don’t take any chances. Does Holmgren support or challenge this theory?

From a physical point of view, it was definitely a risk, and questions arose after injuring his foot. Holmgren is a pipe cleaner that seems to be folded in half—he’s heard all the jokes now. But that was the extent of his perceived weaknesses. In almost every other way, Holmgren is a nature freak: a tall guy with the skills of a short guy who can dodge behind paint, through defenders, as well as see and stretch the ground. It can disable shots while practicing Basketball Awareness which is nothing more than automatic.

Why recruit someone who might turn out to be too good for someone who might be a unicorn?

OKC beat the 6-foot-10 Dieng in an overnight business deal with the Knicks, and the 19-year-old would need to graduate from development school. As they still reap future pick benefits from trading Paul George to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Thunder earned their third lottery pick (#13 overall), which they used to pick Williams, a guard from Santa Clara, skipping the chance to add more help in the arena. Front wheels like Mark Williams, Jalen Duren or Tari Eason.

The only other important decision of the summer has to do with Dort. As a very good defensive goalkeeper who has improved his shot over the past year, he has clearly outgrown his contract, which paid under $3 million a season. He got paid off-season, it was reported Five-year contract worth $87.5 million – which goes too far in the Midwest.

Despite this amount paid, OKC safely remains off any salary cap risk and can act as a salary dumping ground (if they so choose) and add more selections to its already years-long surplus.

This offset was all about adding more freshmen, developing them and laying a foundation for the future, all with the hope of a potential superstar. For a franchise that isn’t exactly a destination for free agents, this is the best way to improve.

With their youthful makeup and an abundance of players who need minutes and reps, OKC isn’t out of the woods yet. It’s very likely that there will be a round trip to the draft lottery in 2023, especially with Holmgren out of business. This means that the search for a star continues.

By then Holmgren will begin the final phase of his rehab period and prepare for the… junior season.

next one: Memphis Grizzlies | previously: New Orleans Pelicans

> 30 teams in 30 days: full schedule

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Sean Powell has covered the NBA for over 25 years. You can email him here you find Archive it here and follow him Twitter.

The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of the National Basketball Association, its clubs, or Turner Broadcasting.