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Nikola Jokic Praises Chet Holmgren, But Says He Needs to Get Fatter

Reigning NBA champion Nikola Jokic had his first-ever clash with Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren on Sunday night, and he offered some unique advice to the slim 21-year-old after the Nuggets’ 128–95 win.

Jokic was complimentary of Holmgren’s skillset, acknowledging the talent of the former No. 2 pick. But he advised the young center to add some weight, or as he rather comically put it, “be a little bit fatter.”

“He’s a really talented guy, but this is his first year. He’s still learning everything: the game, how quick it is, where is (he at) an advantage, where is (he at) a disadvantage,” Jokic said of Holmgren, via Bennett Durando of the Denver Post

“I think he needs experience. I think he needs to be a little bit fatter, to be honest,” Jokic added. “But yes, he has a talent that is unique.”

Jokic had the upper hand in their first meeting. The two-time MVP had 28 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists across 30 minutes. The Nuggets’ center was overpowering in the paint, often making it look easy as he shot 12-of-16 from the field. 

Holmgren recorded seven blocks against the Cavaliers on Friday, but he struggled to contain Jokic defensively. He ended the night with 19 points and four rebounds in the loss but didn’t have a single block or steal.

Jokic praised Holmgren’s talent after their matchup on Sunday but echoed the thoughts of many NBA observers by suggesting that adding some bulk to his frame could be beneficial for Oklahoma City’s young center.