Portland Trail Blazers 2022 NBA Draft Big Board #2: Chet Holmgren
Unicorns are back, baby! Basketball’s latest “Slender Man” entered the 2021-2022 college season as a top NBA prospect and will exit the same way. He lived up to the hype by putting up 14.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks per game while helping to lead the Gonzaga Bulldogs to yet another one-seed in the NCAA tourney.
A true seven-footer that weighs approximately 180-lbs soaking wet with perimeter skills, Chet Holmgren immediately draws comparisons to Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Durant, and Aleksej Pokusevski just from an aesthetic perspective. However, he’s not quite like any of these current pros, although a healthy, defensive-minded KP would be the closest comparison.
Due to his precarious combination of height, length, and weight, Holmgren projects to be a center for a good chunk of his NBA career but is probably best off slotting in at power forward next to a strong five. That makes him an ideal pairing with the Portland Trail Blazers Jusuf Nurkic.
He shot 39 percent from deep for the Zags, though he’s not just a stretch-big. Chet has legitimate perimeter skills, meaning he can put the ball on the floor and create for himself and others.
He’s a uniquely skilled passer for his size and age; not quite as good as Banchero, but definitely better than Smith Jr. He’ll be able to run the offense on the break, off of the short roll, or in the high post.
He should be the most impactful defender within the top-three prospects. His blend of length and agility make him a fearsome weakside shot blocker, and his intelligence and timing are reminiscent of a much more seasoned player.
It’d be reckless not to factor in Holmgren’s unique build, worry about potential injuries, and wonder how he’ll fare guarding opposing big men on the block. Still, those concerns hold little weight to Holmgren’s towering ceiling. If he can add on even 15-20 pounds, develop a back-to-the-basket game, and stay healthy, he’ll be a regular feature on All-NBA teams.
NBA Comp: Modern Day Kevin Garnett, Defensive-Minded Kristaps Porzingis