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Thunder Veteran Mike Muscala Could be Key for Rookie Chet Holmgren’s Early Development

Mike Muscala could be an important piece this season in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a potential future superstar in Chet Holmgren. The No. 2 overall pick in last month’s draft, he’s got the upside to be a generational talent.

Although he’s a center, Holmgren is the opposite of a traditional big. Instead, he’s a thin framed, floor spacing center that could lead the next generation of modern bigs.

At just 195 pounds, Holmgren will need to learn to be an effective on both ends of the floor without having a physical advantage. This is something Thunder veteran Mike Muscala has experience with.

The 31-year-old signed a one-year deal this week to return to OKC.

To be clear, Holmgren’s ceiling is significantly higher than Muscala’s, but there’s plenty he can learn from the veteran. Muscala is also more than 40 pounds heavier than his rookie teammate, but plays a ton on the perimeter as a big. He also has been effective in recent years defensively despite being at a physical disadvantage to those he typically guards.

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Muscala is a great veteran on the roster that can mentor Holmgren on and off the court. He can give tips on how to defend guys that have an edge physically and also help ensure the Gonzaga product’s perimeter game on offense translates at the next level.

Holmgren never projects to be a bruiser in the paint, which is why Muscala is a great veteran to be around. Early in his NBA career, Holmgren needs a perimeter oriented center to look up to.

As such, the re-signing of Muscala this week was underrated and important. He could end up being a big reason Holmgren has early success in the NBA.


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