By John Fanta
FOX Sports activities Faculty Basketball Author
The Chet Holmgren period must wait.
Holmgren, essentially the most debated prospect within the 2022 NBA Draft class, will probably be on the shelf for the whole thing of what was alleged to be his rookie yr due to a Lisfranc damage to his proper foot, the Thunder introduced Thursday morning.
The setback is precisely what NBA normal managers and expertise evaluators feared about Holmgren, whose 7-foot, 195-pound body was some extent of concern for some main as much as the draft. The decide, made by Thunder normal supervisor Sam Presti, was seen as high-risk, high-reward.
The character of the damage was odd, occurring throughout an exhibition occasion — Jamal Crawford’s “CrawsOver Professional-Am” in Seattle. However maybe the larger concern for the Thunder is the lengthy, checkered historical past behind huge males that suffer lower-body accidents.
In some methods, Holmgren’s present scenario is harking back to 2007 No. 1 total draft decide Greg Oden. Oden was surrounded by extraordinary expectations out of Ohio State after a monster faculty profession, however ended up lacking his rookie season with a knee damage and within the two following seasons he solely appeared in a mixed 82 video games.
Whereas Oden’s physique sort is reverse of Holmgren’s, he inevitably handled too many damage points to beat. After a quick comeback try with Miami on the fringe of 26, Oden was out of the league for good.
Sadly, Oden’s removed from the one participant whose accidents prevented them from seeing their full potential. Simply have a look at 2002 No. 1 draft decide Yao Ming.
After all, when Ming was on the ground, he was an All-Star middle — his No. 11 is retired by the Houston Rockets for a motive. However in simply eight seasons, Ming missed 180 video games. From the osteomyelitis in his left huge toe in 2005, to breaking the identical foot in 2006, to a stress fracture in his left ankle in 2010, the accidents simply stored mounting for the Chinese language celebrity.
Certain, the Thunder could be delighted with Holmgren being named an All-Star eight instances like Ming, however the quantity of accidents that Ming went by prevented him from being the legendary celebrity that he may have been, and maybe stored Houston from successful a championship.
One other injury-plagued instance comes from 1984 No. 2 total draft decide Sam Bowie, who was chosen by the Path Blazers (over Michael Jordan, famously) to be their subsequent franchise middle after Invoice Walton, whose first two seasons in Portland had been decimated by continual foot accidents. Discover a pattern? Poor Portland.
Bowie, the 7-foot-1 Kentucky celebrity whose No. 31 was retired by the Wildcats in 2002, really handled accidents earlier than he even made the professional transition. Following an All-American sophomore season in Lexington, Bowie’s was identified with a stress fracture in his left tibia. That led to a domino impact of accidents, together with a further fracture that induced the large man to overlook two consecutive seasons of school basketball.
In his comeback marketing campaign and closing yr of school, Bowie helped energy the Wildcats to the 1984 Closing 4 with an AP All-American Second Group season however taking part in simply three seasons in 5 years of school basketball led some evaluators to be skeptical.
Bowie made it by his rookie season unscathed, being named an All-NBA Rookie Group choice after averaging 10.0 factors to associate with 8.6 boards. However simply when it regarded as if he may launch himself into being an All-Star in 12 months 2, Bowie’s tibia nightmare reoccurred.
In 1985, he broke his left tibia. 5 video games into what was alleged to be his comeback marketing campaign in 1986, he suffered a season-ending fracture to his proper tibia. Whereas he averaged 10.9 factors and seven.5 boards per recreation in his 11 NBA seasons, he was by no means capable of reside as much as being that No. 2 decide.
There’s hope for Holmgren, although. Newer prime NBA draft picks have overcome well being setbacks early of their profession and shined of their later years.
Blake Griffin, the No. 1 total decide within the 2009 NBA draft, was named NBA Rookie of the 12 months for the 2010-11 marketing campaign after lacking his rookie season with a knee damage, and he is been named an All-Star six instances in his profession. There’s additionally NBA scoring champion Joel Embiid, who suffered by two straight seasons stricken by damage earlier than launching what has been an impressive profession, that includes 5 straight All-Star choices.
And undrafted Udonis Haslem, who had the identical damage (Lisfranc) as Holmgren again in 2010, has loved an extended profession since, agreeing simply final week to play his twentieth season with the Warmth.
There are many examples of early profession accidents all through NBA historical past to select from, each good and unhealthy. However as a result of there have been already questions on Holmgren’s uncommon body with the ability to deal with the wear and tear and tear of the NBA, this damage has simply rekindled that debate.
The excellent news is that Holmgren has not had a major damage earlier than. In actual fact, his final setback got here when he broke his wrist within the sixth grade.
But when NBA historical past is a information, it is that what Holmgren finally ends up changing into within the NBA carries a excessive quantity of variance. For Holmgren and the Thunder, together with the remainder of us, we’ll simply have to attend and see.
John Fanta is a nationwide faculty basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports activities. He covers the game in quite a lot of capacities, from calling video games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Community to offering commentary on The Subject of 68 Media Community. Comply with him on Twitter @John_Fanta.
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