Going into the 2022 NBA draft, multiple players could’ve been drafted at the No. 1 spot. One of these players was Chet Holmgren, a center out of Gonzaga University.
Coming out of high school, Holmgren had a lot of hype; he was a 5-star center and ranked the No. 1 player in the nation. There was no question that the 7-foot center with a 90-inch wingspan had unlimited potential. However, Holmgren’s most crucial question was whether his weight would play a factor against bigger and thicker players.
Holmgren’s weight wasn’t an issue at Gonzaga. In his first and only college season, Holmgren averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks in 32 games.
With Holmgren able to play at a high level in college and with the unlimited potential he contained, he found himself drafted second overall in the 2022 NBA draft.
The Oklahoma City Thunder took the 20-year-old center with plans to have him in their starting lineup. When Holmgren was drafted, everyone talked about how the Thunder had a young, promising three-player core. The core would contain Josh Giddey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Holmgren.
Holmgren always had a cockiness to him whether he played basketball or talked to the media. Some might say that Holmgren has massive self-confidence, and others would say he is just cocky.
No matter what side you are on, Holmgren put a target on his back on May 18. Bleacher Report Hoops posted an Instagram video asking Holmgren who he thinks is the best player in the NBA; Holmgren responded, “Myself in two months.”
Fast forward three months, news broke out that Holmgren would miss the 2022-23 NBA season due to a Lisfranc injury.
The injury occurred during a Seattle pro-am game where Holmgren tried to stop a fastbreak against LeBron James, where James drove to the basket creating contact with Holmgren. When Holmgren jumped to contest the shot, he landed gingerly, hopping on one foot as if he rolled his ankle. Unfortunately, it was worse than a rolled ankle.
When the video and diagnosis came out, everyone thought that Holmgren got hurt due to his weight, since he weighs 195 pounds while James weighs 250 pounds.
Apparently, Holmgren’s weight didn’t come into play with this specific injury. Sam Presti, Thunder’s general manager, revealed three of the top five foot specialists all agreed it was an accidental injury that could’ve happened to anyone, anywhere.
“This is an acute injury. It’s something where it’s the result of him basically being pressed down, getting ready to jump at the exact time that he was getting force on his foot,” said Presti. “A millisecond earlier where he’s up in the air already or a millisecond later where his foot is flat, then you’re not dealing with something like this.”
A Lisfranc injury occurs when at least one of the eight metatarsal bones is displaced from the foot. Holmgren’s case was a rupture of the tendon, which is scarier since torn ligaments can cause more long-term damage.
Holmgren did undergo a successful procedure, and if everything goes right, Presti believes that Holmgren will return in time for the 2023-24 NBA season.