The NBA world was hit with unfortunate news yesterday after it was announced that Chet Holmgren would miss the entire 2022-23 season. The consensus All-American went down with a Lisfranc injury to his right foot. Equally important was the way that Holmgren obtained this injury. The rookie phenom was one of many NBA players to participate in a number of Pro-Ams this summer. This piece looks into the future of Holmgren, the Oklahoma City franchise, and summer activities for players across the league.
What the Chet Holmgren Injury Means to the NBA
How Did This Happen?
Holmgren suffered the injury during the Crawsover Pro-Am in Seattle, an event run by former NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Jamal Crawford. The free event, run by Crawford each year, was packed with NBA talent this summer. Young stars like Jayson Tatum, Paolo Banchero, Dejounte Murray, and Holmgren were there, along with the likes of Aaron Gordon, Tari Eason, MarJon Beauchamp, and Isaiah Thomas. Last but not least, the biggest attraction to this event had to be the presence of the king, LeBron James.
This star-studded field and Seattle’s unrivaled love for our favorite sport led to a venue that was more than packed. The full house, paired with an unusually humid day, led to constant condensation on the court. Crawford himself was seen cleaning the floor whenever he could. Crawford would eventually make the tough decision to cancel the game featuring Holmgren, but unfortunately for the number two overall pick, the stoppage came too late.
Holmgren was seen pulling up awkwardly after contesting a layup attempt by James. At first, it didn’t appear to be anything major, but it was later determined that he would miss this season. Let’s take a look at other promising rookies that have met this fate.
Chet Holmgren has suffered ligament damage in his foot, per @ShamsCharania.
The OKC Thunder big man appeared to suffer the injury on this play at the Crawsover Pro-Am this past weekend.
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) August 24, 2022
What This Injury Means for Chet Holmgren
Luckily for Holmgren, he is not in uncharted territory. At least five names come to mind when thinking of former rookies that missed their first year due to injury. Thunder fans can take solace in seeing names like Joel Embiid, Blake Griffin, Julius Randle, and to some degree, Ben Simmons. The lone heartbreaker in the group is Greg Oden. Although nothing is certain, the former Gonzaga Bulldog has already returned to weight lifting and shooting drills, so the outlook seems positive. While Holmgren and the Thunder’s front office must be saddened by the setback, there is no reason to believe that he won’t make a full recovery.
What This Means for the Thunder
Do you hear that? That’s the sound of a tank pulling into Oklahoma. Despite General Manager Sam Presti’s assertion to the contrary, this team is not ready to compete in the Western Conference. Add to that the fact that Victor Wembanyama looks to be a generational talent at the top of the upcoming draft class, and you have all the reasons a small market team needs to let this season go, so to speak.
What this Means for the League (and Pro-Ams)
The immediate fear felt by fans outside of OKC was the potential loss of Pro-Ams in the future. These events are currently considered sanctioned activities by the NBA. However, a scare like this may cause teams to include a ‘No Pro-Am’ clause in future contracts to avoid injuries. Fans of these Pro-Ams will be hoping that NBA front offices follow Presti’s lead on this front. The Thunder GM did not consider the condition of the court to be the cause of the injury. This perspective could keep his peers from overreacting next off-season.
Regardless of how the league decides to move forward, we wish Chet a speedy recovery and look forward to his inevitable NBA debut.