Overreacting is what sports media and fans do, but it’s tough to look at Chet Holmgren’s performance in his Summer League debut and not be high on the Thunder rookie.
The Gonzaga product scored 23 points while going 7-for-9 from the field, snagged seven rebounds, and picked up four assists in under 24 minutes of action on Tuesday. That’s pretty much the definition of efficient, but one NBA assistant coach isn’t sold on Holmgren.
The anonymous coach is still very much concerned about Holmgren’s build, or lack thereof, and isn’t so sure he’ll ever fill out into a reliable NBA body.
I’m not sold on him being a star,” the assistant coach told Sports Illustrated.
“He’s obviously an excellent shooter, skilled, but he is so physically weak. He can’t get by his defender, and he realized that early and settled for threes the rest of the game. He’s so thin in hips and legs that he makes [teammate] Poku [Aleksej Pokuševski] look like he has thick legs. I don’t think he’ll ever fill out. … He has a long way to go.”
How dare this coach not go ahead and crown Holmgren NBA Rookie of the Year.
In all seriousness, the assistant coach is the level-headed one in this scenario. He could be absolutely dead wrong and Holmgren could become a Hall of Famer down the line, but he’s played exactly one game of professional basketball at this point.
There is no denying that Holmgren will have to put on some weight, but that was the same critique Kevin Durant had when he was drafted out of Texas. That’s an extreme example, but things worked out pretty well for KD. While it would be ridiculous to compare Holmgren to Durant, he could fill out a bit and have a successful NBA career as well.
Only time will tell.