At 38 years old, Chris Paul is in his golden years in the NBA. As the future Hall of Fame point guard moves to the Warriors for season No. 19, Paul is hoping to make one last run at his first NBA championship alongside long-time rivals Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
Chet Holgrem is just starting what should be an excellent career. At 21 years old, Holmgren debuted this season for the Oklahoma City Thunder after missing all of last year with a foot injury after becoming the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
As the Thunder and Warriors met on Thursday night, it felt like a showdown of NBA powerhouses past and future. While Stephen Curry absence took some juice out of the game, this game still had plenty of intrigue, including a couple possessions where CP3 and Holmgren matched up in the post.
Holmgren and Paul might have the two most opposite body types in the NBA. Paul is generously listed at 6-foot, 175 pounds. Holmgren is listed at 7’1, 207 pounds. For OKC, throwing the ball in the post to Holmgren when Paul is on him should be a mismatch they can take advantage of, right? Wrong.
Holmgren might have all the length and all the height in this matchup, but CP3 has something important, too: center of gravity. Similar to how PJ Tucker does a solid job of defending Nikola Jokic in the post, or how James Harden shines as a post defender while being a huge liability on the perimeter, having a low center of gravity can be a big help when battling for position down low.
Chris Paul stopping Chet Holmgren in the post is just hilarious, but it makes sense. CP3 is a professional menace. Chet is just starting to become one. Holmgren’s Thunder may eventually run the Western Conference, but the old man CP3 still has his moments.
The Thunder beat the Warriors, 128-109, without Curry. The Warriors have lost five straight. The Thunder’s ascent is happening in real time. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
As we wrote at the time of the draft, Holmgren’s thin frame shouldn’t fool you — he was always an awesome player. There are times when his high center of gravity and lack of weight will come back to bite him, though, and CP3 gave us one prime example.