Rule 1 of NBA Summer League games: Do not overreact to Summer League games.
Just ask Chet Holmgren.
“Success is a trap,” Holmgren said after his Summer League debut.
On the other hand, have your fun, Thunder fans. The Chet Holmgren hype train is already screaming at warp speed, so why not jump aboard? Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt is wearing the conductor’s hat and planning a parade route.
Seeing Holmgren ball out Tuesday night in Salt Lake City seemed to be an instant antidote for a two-year basketball hangover in OKC. Landing a player with Holmgren’s potential is what all of those losses were for.
The No. 2 pick in the 2022 NBA draft was spectacular in his debut in the Thunder’s 98-77 Summer League win against the Jazz.
The 7-foot rookie scored 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting. He was 4-of-6 from 3-point range and 5-of-5 from the foul line.
Holmgren tallied seven rebounds, six blocks and four assists. The Thunder outscored the Jazz by 26 points in Holmgren’s 24 minutes. Holmgren’s six blocks set a Salt Lake City Summer League record.
To which Holmgren responded to ESPN’s Holly Rowe: “Only six? That’s a record?”
“Well, I’m coming to break it again,” he added.
There was the early block against former Illinois All-American Kofi Cockburn. There was the swat against 7-foot-6 giant Taco Fall. There were the shots the Jazz didn’t even attempt out of respect for Holmgren’s lurking length.
There were off-the-dribble 3-pointers and 3-pointers out of pick-and-pops. There was a transition dunk and a Dirk Nowitzki fadeaway jumper.
“I watch a lot of basketball, watch a lot of great guys like that,” Holmgren said. “I put a lot of work into shots like those.”
Mixed into Holmgren’s debut was subtle celebration and not-so-subtle trash talk.
A few minutes after the game, Holmgren tweeted a crying laughing emoji with no text. Just the emoji.
Asked what it meant, Holmgren cryptically replied, “No comment.”
Holmgren is adept in blending cockiness with composure — two traits you like to see from a top pick. After his marvelous individual performance he credited his teammates and was tough on himself.
“Gotta be better,” Holmgren said. “You can never really have a perfect game, but that’s what you strive for.”
It was only a Summer League game, but it was about as perfect of a Summer League game as you’ll ever see.