OKC Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren injured his ankle while successfully defending LeBron James on a fastbreak play during the first minutes of CrawsOver Saturday night in Seattle.
Holmgren was backpedaling as James headed up the court, full speed.
The lanky 20-year-old forced James into a wild miss but injured his ankle on the play and sat out the rest of the game.
Play was halted in the second quarter due to humidity on the court.
Holmgren was joined by No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero playing against the likes of James and Celtics guard Jayson Tatum.
The two teamed up last month at the CrawsOver also, combining for 84 points.
Paolo Banchero WENT OFF for 50 PTS in his hometown of Seattle, WA at the @thecrawsover!
— NBA (@NBA) July 31, 2022
The 7-foot Holmgren was the second pick of the 2022 Draft and will team up with last year’s rookie sensation Josh Giddie in Oklahoma City.
The former Gonzaga Bulldog averaged 14.1points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in one season and earned 2021-22 All-WCC, 2021-22 All WCC ROY and DPOY, WCC All-Freshman, and 2022 All-WCC Tournament honors.
Though there has been speculation on whether Holmgren is physically ready for the NBA, he’s gotten plenty of positive feedback on his performance.
“Watching Chet Holmgren in person was an experience,” said Old Man & the Three podcast host J.J. Redick. “He’s got a confidence to his game. He’s got a competitiveness to his game. He’s got a really strong belief in self.”
“Watching that frame move so fluidly, his ball-handling skills, it did remind me of a young Giannis. I hate the comparison because Giannis is one of one, and hopefully, Chet will become one of one. But watching him move in transition reminded me of a young Giannis,” said Redick.
The Thunder opens the preseason on October 3 at the Denver Nuggets.