How scary Chet Holmgren could top the 2022 NBA draft

After a stellar performance at this year’s NCAA tournament, recently eliminated Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren has a chance to pick first overall in the 2022 NBA draft.

The freshman already has what it takes to become a top-flight NBA big man. Not only did Holmgren stand at a 7ft drop with a 7ft 6 wingspan, but he also shot 39% over the arc this season. And he’s a defensive anchor, averaging 3.7 blocks per game in his freshman year. A running double-double averaging 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per game this season, Holmgren could become a cornerstone for a struggling NBA team to come out on top in this year’s lottery.

“Physically, he’s scary as hell, but basketball is a game of versatility and he’s the most versatile player in the draft,” an NBA scout told Yahoo Sports of Holmgren.

One of the few caveats about Chet Holmgren's game is its weight.
One of the few caveats about Chet Holmgren’s game is its weight.
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Scouts have compared Holmgren to former Knicks All-Star and current Washington Wizard Kristaps Porzingis for his immense versatility at his height. Both big men can stretch the ground, be explosive on the edge, and hold down defenses.

But one of the few caveats for Holmgren – like Porzingis – is his weight. Weighing just 190 pounds, Holmgren was easily bullied by bigger centers in the color throughout the season. Recently, Arkansas’ Jaylin Williams, who outweighs Holmgren by 50 pounds, scored 15 points to help the Razorbacks stun Gonzaga.

However, with strong foul discipline, Holmgren has closed other teams’ centers on the edge with its verticality and span. When Gonzaga faced Memphis in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Holmgren guarded Jalen Duren of the Tigers, forcing him to shoot from the field at 3:11. Throughout the Bulldogs’ season, Holmgren has been reliable and consistent on the court.

Chet Holmgren
Holmgren has become a reliable two-way force for Gonzaga this season.

With a wealth of talent already in his toolbox, Holmgren can easily fill in as he ages. NBA scouts told Yahoo Sports that they predict Holmgren will be guarding the fourth position once he enters the league as he cannot yet effectively guard the low post.

“Forget who he’s guarding, who’s guarding him?” an NBA scout told Yahoo Sports. “The game has changed, and it’s no longer about getting inside; it’s about getting it out there.”

Holmgren has a style of play that makes him dangerous on both sides of the court, and he can continue to develop into a more complete player and hone his playing skills to be on a similar level to current NBA MVP contenders Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid be. And at 19, Holmgren’s stock can only keep going up. How scary Chet Holmgren could top the 2022 NBA draft


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