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Driving the Chet Holmgren overhype practice

Chet Holmgren isn’t as NBA-ready as you think.

Chet Holmgren isn’t as NBA-ready as you assume.
Picture: Getty Photographs

The 2022 NBA Draft is simply hours away, and the highest three appear to be locked amongst Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga), Jabari Smith (Auburn), and Paolo Banchero (Duke). Some speaking heads and consultants assume it’s a toss-up as to which participant will likely be chosen No. 1. I don’t assume it’s even shut. Holmgren is pulling up the rear on this comparability with Smith and Banchero.

Over the previous 24 hours, Banchero jumped into the favourite spot in betting odds to be the No. 1 decide. This comes as a shock since many of the discuss had been about Smith or Holmgren going first till now. No matter Banchero’s in a single day rise, I’d nonetheless be inclined to draft him forward of Holmgren. Banchero’s sport and physique are able to contribute within the NBA instantly. He’s 6′-foot-10, 250 kilos. Wherever he falls, I can see him ranging from the opening tip subsequent season.

Holmgren will in all probability want extra growth time which he’ll get in Oklahoma Metropolis, the place he’s largely projected to go at this level. The Thunder have been very profitable within the draft through the years and at all times have a number of picks. So, they’re in all probability OK with Holmgren not being NBA-ready for a yr or two after drafting him. But when they need a faster bang for his or her, they’d choose Banchero, assuming Smith is the primary participant taken.

I’m not saying Chet can’t be participant within the NBA. I simply don’t see a star within the making. A pleasant strong position participant seems like what he’ll ultimately settle into. Of the three, Smith looks as if he’s most definitely the longer term star of this trio.

Of course, where a player lands plays a huge part in how their career turns out. Since the Thunder have four picks in the top 34, whiffing on one wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. But missing on the second overall pick when there’s a better option (or two) available is something not easily forgotten.

None of this is an exact science for anyone. The so-called “can’t miss” guys often become career role players or wash out of the league before their rookie contract expires. Other times we see someone like Giannis Antetokounmpo go on to shock the world in his progression over several years.

One of the more recent comparisons for Holmgren has been to a young Giannis. Not MVP Giannis, but 2013s 15th overall pick of the draft. I see where some might make this comparison as you have two tall, skinny kids with potential and upside. Antetokounmpo claims he’s gained 50 pounds since coming into the association in 2013. It’s not impossible, but I’d like to see if Holmgren can add half the weight Giannis has over his time in the league. It just looks like that will be a tremendous battle for Holmgren.

We saw in the NCAA Tournament that Holmgren’s play felt underwhelming at times as the competition got stronger, tougher, and stepped up a notch. In Gonzaga’s final two tourney games, Holmgren scored a combined 20 points against Memphis and Arkansas. He did grab 23 rebounds in the two games, which is a great sign but whether he can do this consistently in the NBA is open for debate.

Holmgren has a nice skill set, but whoever drafts him will need to spend many hours with this kid in the weight room. He has a nice handle for a 7-footer but isn’t very explosive. So, I just think it’s going to take time for Holmgren to become comfortable with the NBA game, and it’s going to take a patient team (like OKC) that’s fine with him needing two-three years before he’s ready to play significant minutes. 

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