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What Chet Holmgren injury means for Thunder rebuild, fantasy basketball

The rookie forward will be sidelined for the entire 2022-23 season. We break down the impact on OKC.

Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder plays defense during the game against the Orlando Magic during the 2022 Las Vegas Summer League on July 11, 2022 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada  Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder announced on Thursday morning that rookie big Chet Holmgren will miss the entire 2022-23 season due to a Lisfranc injury in his right foot. We don’t know when Holmgren suffered the injury, but it may have been during an exhibition game during the offseason. It was reported that Holmgren sustained damaged ligaments in his foot on Wednesday. We now know we won’t see the No. 2 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft until at least 2023-24.

How will this impact the Thunder rebuild and what does it mean for the roster this season? We take a look.

Chet Holmgren injury impact

OKC Rebuild

First off, there will be a lot of toxic chatter about how Holmgren was never going to hold up in the NBA. Many armchair scouts and analysts were concerned over his durability. While this isn’t a great news, it doesn’t mean Holmgren’s career is over. Early in the Summer League, we were all touting Holmgren as the next Kevin Durant. Not to say those touts were correct, but Holmgren looked very good in Vegas. So while this is a setback, we should see Holmgren return in 2023-24 and compete for Rookie of the Year, something many expected him to do this season.

As for the rebuild, it isn’t like the Thunder were going to be competing anytime soon. In the short-term, it means nothing. In the long-term, well, we don’t really know yet. If Holmgren continues to deal with injuries and can’t stay healthy, it’s a big problem. If Holmgren comes back next season and is fine, the Thunder aren’t better or worse off from all of this.

OKC still has plenty of draft capital. The team still has a handful of good young players in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Darius Bazley and Luguentz Dort. Aaron Wiggins, Aleksej Pokusevski, Tre Mann and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl have all shown some flashes of upside. No Holmgren for an entire season means the Thunder front office and coaching staff gets a chance to evaluate these young players further.

Fantasy basketball impact

We weren’t really going to be targeting many Thunder players in fantasy basketball drafts this fall anyway. SGA and Bazley make the most sense in re-draft leagues with 10-12 teams. Dort isn’t a bad option in deeper formats. Giddey and the rest of the Rugrats make a bit more sense in keeper/dynasty formats. If you had Giddey in a keeper/dynasty league, this news helps his cause a bit.

As for Holmgren, if you got him in a dynasty or keeper league, there’s no need to panic really. This isn’t any cause for panic just yet. If you’re worried long-term, find a trade partner who isn’t and try and recoup some assets. If you aren’t worried, stash him on your IR all season and see how things play out. He isn’t a bad player to target in those leagues since you may be able to get him on a discount.