Chet Holmgren would be the NBA Rookie of the Year if the vote were held today.
Through a third of the season he is averaging 17.7 points and 7.8 rebounds a game, hitting 40% of the 4.2 3-pointers he takes a game, plus adding 2.7 blocks a night while anchoring the Oklahoma City defense. More importantly, he contributes to winning — he has been a critical cog for the 22-9 Thunder.
Just don’t ask Holmgren if he’s accomplished anything yet, which is what ESPN’s Tim MacMahon did.
“I haven’t proved sh*t. I’ve only played 30 games. Still got a long way to go.”
“What do think have you proven so far?” Question by: @espn_macmahon
Chet Holmgren on what he has proven so far in the NBA pic.twitter.com/Yvp8zsWltb
— Michael Martin (@MichaelOnSports) January 2, 2024
That is the answer every fan and coach hopes a player will give.
In reality, he’s accomplished about as much in 31 games as he or the Thunder could have hoped. He stepped into a situation where he was playing next to an MVP candidate in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Holmgren’s role was clearly defined (unlike the other most heralded rookie, Victor Wembanyama): Set picks, pop out to the arc or roll hard to the rim, be a rim protector on defense, run hard in transition.
To his credit, Holmgren has filled that role as well as anyone could have hoped. He was one of the missing ingredients in OKC that has this team looking like a playoff threat this season and a potential contender for years to come. He deserves all the praise coming his way.
But in the grand scheme of what he wants to accomplish in the NBA, he’s right, he hasn’t done s*** yet.