On Friday evening, the Oklahoma City Thunder hit the road to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in what was the second career NBA game for Thunder forward Chet Holmgren. Holmgren was selected in the 2022 draft but was forced to miss the entirety of the 2022-23 campaign due to injury, setting the stage for his emergence with an upstart Thunder squad looking to capitalize on a relatively impressive season a year ago.
On Friday against the Cavs, Holmgren made his impact on the defensive end felt immediately, recording a highly impressive five blocks in the first half alone.
Chet has 10 rebounds and 5 BLOCKS in the first half pic.twitter.com/fFc6urYQ8O
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) October 28, 2023
This included a remarkable sequence in which Holmgren swatted away a Cavs shot, grabbed the rebound, and pushed the fast break down the other end of the floor, showing off his multitude of skills within seconds.
This Chet Holmgren sequence is fantastic #Thunderup
— No Ceilings (@NoCeilingsNBA) October 28, 2023
Some noted that the Cavs players were having a rough day at the office trying to score against the seven footer.
Pray for the Cavs they’ve gotta try and score with Chet Holmgren at the rim
— 𝑪𝒐𝒏𝒆 🌩 (@Three_Cone) October 28, 2023
When Chet Holmgren was drafted by the Thunder, much of the focus was on his offensive capabilities, with his feathery outside shooting touch along with his impressive agility for his size. However, the area where Holmgren might make the most noticeable impact for Oklahoma City is on defense, which was in large part their Achilles heel a season ago.
With Holmgren playing at such an elite level thus far, combined with the talented teammates he has, it’s not hard to envision the Thunder making real noise in what figures to be a densely crowded Western Conference playoff picture this season.