KD shouts out Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren after dominant performance in Summer League debut

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Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren put on an absolute clinic Tuesday night, erupting for 23 points (accomplished on slick 7-of-9 shooting including 4-of-6 from downtown), seven rebounds and six blocked shots in the winning effort. Chosen with the second pick in last month’s NBA Draft, Holmgren was unstoppable in his Summer League debut, tormenting Tacko Fall on both ends, swatting him twice while also putting the Jazz seven-footer on a poster with this savage dunk.

The 20-year-old from Gonzaga looks to be the real deal, with some comparing his body type and skillset to Kevin Durant, who also rose to stardom in Oklahoma City, leading the Thunder to six playoff appearances in a seven-year stretch. Speaking of Durant, the Nets All-Star (though maybe not for long) took to Twitter after the game, acknowledging Holmgren’s dominant performance in Salt Lake City.

Though Durant has outlined Phoenix and Miami as his preferred landing spots, KD returning to the team and city he helped put on the map is a fascinating hypothetical to ponder and, from a narrative standpoint, arguably the most logical choice for his character arc. Despite being the best player on two Warriors championship teams, Durant never got his due in Golden State and would likely face the same “ring-chasing” criticism if he bolted for Miami or Phoenix. Finishing what he started in the Sooner State would offset some of Durant’s recent blunders, including his ill-fated decision to team up with erratic point guard Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.

There seems to be a mutual respect between Durant and Holmgren, who wears the same shoes and uniform number (No. 7) as his NBA idol. Holmgren’s slight frame (7’1”/195) drew concern leading up to the draft, inviting skepticism from critics who questioned his long-term durability. Those fears may be warranted, though if Tuesday was any indication, Holmgren should be an immediate impact player for a team that, after years of stockpiling draft assets, has finally found a star worth building around.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Sarah Stier, Getty Images