After an appetizer in San Francisco over the holiday weekend, NBA Summer League continued on Tuesday with the scene shifting to Salt Lake City. For many, the main event of Summer League season doesn’t arrive until the entire league descends on Las Vegas but, for the diehards tuning into Tuesday’s matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz, fireworks were evident. Most of the attention was rightly paid to No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren, who put on an individual show in leading Oklahoma City to a 98-77 victory.
Holmgren, who was making his professional debut, finished the first half with 18 points on 6-for-7 shooting and 4-for-5 from three-point range. For a player who is not necessarily known for his scoring prowess, it was a reminder of his all-court talent, and Holmgren also stuffed the stat sheet with two rebounds, two assists, three blocks, and a steal before halftime.
To open his evening, Holmgren got started with a breezy dunk.
That set the stage for the shooting exhibition that was to come. Holmgren showed off easy NBA three-point range, and also busted out a Dirk Nowitzki-like one-legged fadeaway that turned heads.
Holmgren’s defense also showed up in Salt Lake City and, in many ways, his versatility and dominance on that end remain his calling cards at this point. He rejected shots in bunches, including a prominent instance in which he turned a blocked shot into a fast break opportunity with the help of his own ball-handling chops.
▪️ Blocks jumpshot
▪️ Behind-the-back crossover
▪️ No-look pass
Chet is different. pic.twitter.com/KU91MiLRZO
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 6, 2022
On a night when he showcased virtually every tool in the box, Holmgren finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a steal, and six (!) blocked shots in less than 24 minutes of action. Of course, it would be unwise to take too much from a single Summer League game from any prospect, but Holmgren did flash the unique defensive feel and acumen that was billed with him as a prospect, and his shooting range (and confidence) leaped off the screen.
Up next for Holmgren and the Thunder will be a tilt against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday in Salt Lake City. It will be quite interesting to see what he has in store for the follow-up, but there will be plenty of attention paid to Holmgren after the performance he put together on Tuesday.