Nikola Jokic on Chet Holmgren:
“He’s really talented… I think he needs to be a little bit fatter, to be honest. But he has a talent that is unique.” 😂😂😂
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) October 30, 2023
Holmgren does have a slight build, and Jokic also complimented the play of the young big man after Denver faced Oklahoma City earlier this season.
Holmgren, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, responded to Jokic’s comment. He shared that he “has to start somewhere” as he begins to learn life at the NBA level.
“It’s hard to get fatter when you’re not fat,” said Holmgren. “Got to start somewhere, I guess. Obviously I haven’t played in the NBA before, so there’s gonna be a lot of learning happening. It’s night to night. Different matchups bring different challenges and different adjustments. I feel like it’s not one person’s job to do one thing out there, it’s a collective effort from all five all night long. We were better as team tonight at that.”
Holmgren missed the entire 2022-23 NBA season after he suffered a foot injury during the offseason. Now, he’s looking to show the Thunder and their fans why he was such a highly touted prospect out of Gonzaga University.
Against the Nuggets on Oct. 29, Holmgren turned in a solid game against Jokic. He finished with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting (1-for-4 from 3-point range) and four rebounds. The Thunder lost badly to Denver, but Holmgren got a chance to experience playing against one of the NBA’s best players.
Chet is getting a good introduction tonight from Jokic pic.twitter.com/4w93VAT9A4
— Danny (@DannyH0214) October 29, 2023
A two-time NBA MVP and the reigning NBA Finals MVP, Jokic knows what it takes to be successful at this level. While he and Holmgren have very different body types, Jokic has learned how to use his – and his insane basketball IQ – to rise to the top of the NBA.
Against the Thunder, Jokic finished with 26 points on an efficient 12-of-16 shooting from the field. He also added 14 rebounds and five assists in the game.
A player like Jokic is going to be a tough matchup for the slimmer Holmgren, but there is still so much room for the Thunder big man to grow as a player.
At just 21 years old, Holmgren certainly could put on some more weight as he continues his NBA career. That will likely make him tougher to push around near the basket, and it could help him on offense with finishing through contact.
The Thunder are hoping that Holmgren can be a part of their young core that features Josh Giddey, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams for years to come. After making the play-in tournament last season, the Thunder could find themselves as a playoff team this season if Holmgren plays well.