Last year, the Oklahoma City Thunder looked like a team that could be a surprise contender in the NBA, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, and Chet Holmgren leading the way for the struggling franchise.
Even though the Thunder did become a surprisingly good team for a good portion of the 2022-23 season, with Gilgeous-Alexander looking like an MVP candidate, Oklahoma City eventually came back down to Earth after making the Play-in Tournament but missing the NBA playoffs.
One thing that would’ve likely changed the outcome for the Thunder last season is Holmgren being able to play in his rookie season, as he suffered a foot injury before the season began and was unable to make his debut.
Fortunately, Holmgren is healthy and ready to show what he can do on the next level, which has some believing the Thunder will be a team to watch, and the skinny 21-year-old might be a contender for NBA Rookie of the Year.
Former NBA player and current analyst Kendrick Perkins is penciling the seven-footer in as his Rookie of the Year, via NBA on ESPN.
Chet Holgrem tops @KendrickPerkins' Big List of Rookies to Watch 💪 ✍️
"That's who is my rookie of the year this year. … That's the Slippery Eel right there!" pic.twitter.com/DuEQDANI4L
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 14, 2023
It’ll be an interesting season, to say the least, when it comes to the incoming rookies competing to be the best first-year player, with plenty of candidates for the regular-season award.
Along with Holmgren, who will undoubtedly have something to prove for obvious reasons, top picks Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson will be players to watch, as they’ll have an opportunity to be impact players right out of the gate.NEXT: Josh Giddey Gets Fans Excited About His Thunder Team