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Chet Holmgren, NBA draft’s No. 2 pick, to miss rookie season with injury

Chet Holmgren (left) is guarded by Jabari Smith Jr. during an NBA Summer League game. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren will miss the upcoming NBA season with a right foot injury, the team announced Thursday. The second pick in this year’s draft, Holmgren suffered a Lisfranc injury Saturday while defending LeBron James during a pro-am game in Seattle.

“Certainly, we are disappointed for Chet, especially given the excitement he had about getting on the floor with his teammates this season,” Thunder General Manager Sam Presti said in a statement.

Holmgren entered the June draft as one of its most intriguing prospects. At 7-foot-1, he blended his size with an impressive offensive repertoire and his ability to impact the game defensively, although his lack of bulk at 195 pounds was a concern for some teams.

Those concerns didn’t deter the Thunder come June, when Orlando’s surprise selection of Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick left Jabari Smith available at No. 2 and threatened a Holmgren slide down the draft board. But Oklahoma City stayed the course and selected the Gonzaga freshman rather than taking Smith.

In Oklahoma City, Holmgren landed on a team committed to a patient developmental approach and one that could help shield him from questions about his physique early in his career. The team also added a pair of lottery picks in Ousmane Dieng and Jalen Williams.

Holmgren was expected to evolve into an exciting offensive contributor in Oklahoma City alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey and quickly flashed that ability during his Summer League debut, in which he scored 23 points on 4-for-6 shooting from three-point range, plus seven rebounds, six blocks and four assists in almost 24 minutes. He averaged 14.0 points and 8.4 rebounds in five games in Las Vegas.

Holmgren, the highest-ranked recruit to play at Gonzaga, was named West Coast Conference defensive player of the year and newcomer of the year this past spring. He helped lead the top-seeded Bulldogs to the Sweet 16, where they lost to Arkansas.

“We know Chet has a long career ahead of him within our organization and the Oklahoma City community,” Presti said. “One of the things that most impressed us during the process of selecting Chet was his determination and focus. We expect that same tenacity will carry him through this period of time as we work together and support him during his rehabilitation.”

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