SCHOOL/ TEAM: Gonzaga
Elite talent; Possible #1 pick in 2022
Good athlete; Agile, coordinated and fluid
Super skilled 7 footer; Can dribble, shoot and pass
Good shooting touch; Effective shooter from deep
Good handle, can attack closeouts and handle in transition
Scores as roll man or pick & pop threat
Good passer with good instincts and feel
Covers major ground on drives with long strides
Can play 4 and 5 maybe some 3
Runs the floor in transition; Dangerous trail man shooter in open floor
Has some grit and toughness to his game
Really good shot blocker and rim protector
Plays hard with a high motor; throws skinny frame around
Active rebounder and tough in the paint
Upside as pull up shot maker off the dribble
Shot 53% from 3 at U19 World Cup
AREAS TO IMPROVE | CONCERNS
Super skinny and frame that may not be able to add a lot of weight
Poor free throw shooter for his talent; Has the touch to be a 80% from line
May struggle with physicality; but it's not due to being soft.
Chet Holmgren arrived on campus as the one recruit in the nation (depending on the publication) and the projected number one pick in the 2022 NBA draft on a lot of preseason big boards.
The hype surrounding him nearly made it impossible to live up to the expectations, especially when you consider he was likely to play a supporting role behind NPOY candidate Drew Timme.
Holmgren has displayed glimpses of why he’s been labeled a unicorn and he’s also shown why his rare blend of body type and skills makes it nearly impossible to find a player comparison. I’ve seen comparisons to Kevin Garnett, Kevin Durant and Kristaps Porzingis.
He’s listed at 7’0 195 lbs and what makes him so unique is that he can block a shot on one end, push the ball up the floor and drain a pull up 3 off the bounce in transition.. Like who does that????
Chet is currently averaging 13 points 8 rebounds and 2 assists on 61% shooting… After a slow start he’s now shooting a respectable 35% from 3.
He’s been effective and efficient in a variety of ways. He’s making over 84% of his baskets in transition which is incredible considering he’s not only running the floor, but shooting a good amount of trailing 3’s in the open floor. He has an effective FG of….get this 107.9% in transition.. 107.9%?? That’s the most efficient stat I’ve ever seen in my life.
We’ve seen quite a few 7 footers that excel at running the floor, but Chet is DIFFERENT. He’s fluid like a wing in transition and unlike most 7 footers, he is comfortable going coast to coast. According to the numbers he’s the most dangerous transition scorer in college basketball.
If you like advanced numbers then Chet is more than likely your top prospect in the draft. His numbers on paper are pretty impressive. He’s ranked in the top 93 percentile in efficiency and averaging 1.127 points per possession. He’s also shooting 82% from the floor on cuts to the basket and 93% on offensive rebound put backs.
Like I mentioned earlier Chet is only 195 pounds and many wonder about his frame and if he can handle physicality and if his body will hold under an NBA schedule. But what I love is he’s tough and is not afraid to throw his skinny frame around and he looks to post up. In the half court, he’s actually been more effective on the block than out on the perimeter this season.
Through 13 games he’s converting over 65% of his possessions in the post. Holmgren is skilled on the block showcasing nice post moves, footwork and a soft touch around the rim with both hands. I enjoy watching him fight for post position vs stronger defenders. His competitive fire is evident when he’s looking to be fed in the post.
Now I don’t know how many post opportunities he’ll get in the NBA due to his lack of strength but he has enough in his toolbox to be able to take advantage of favorable matchups.
Defensively he’s proven to be an impactful defender and rim protector averaging 3 and a half blocks per game. Holmgren has the potential to be a defensive anchor as he has the fluidity and agility to switch out on the perimeter and defend in space. He literally makes opposing players think twice about attacking the paint. If he’s blocking 3.5 shots per game then he’s likely altering 5-10 shots per contest…
If he can put on weight and get stronger he’s a problem. A real problem. Best case scenario is he’s a Rudy Gobert type defender as they have similar measurements although Rudy’s ridiculous 7’9” wingspan is 3 inches longer than Chet’s. But the biggest difference is Rudy was listed at 238 lbs prior to his rookie season and he’s currently weighing 258 lbs. I honestly don’t know if Chet can put on 60 lbs..
I’ve talked about his scoring and defense but Chet Holmgren is a very underrated passer. He’s an impressive outlet passer and looks pretty comfortable initiating the offense.
Gonzaga is so loaded with talent everyone is sacrificing in some form or fashion. I believe Chet has some point center skills that he hasn’t fully been able to display.
Rafael Barlowe - January 9, 2021
We’re still months away from the 2022 NBA Draft and there’s still a few weeks to go before the college season basketball tips off. If you're a person who eats, sleeps and breaths the NBA draft like I do, it’s never too early to discuss who should be the first player to hear his name called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver next June.
As of today, I believe it’s a 3 person race with Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren as the favorite with Duke manchild Paolo Banchero and Jaden Hardy, a professional scorer who bypassed college for the G-League, as the main challengers.
What’s crazy is Chet Holmgren could be the #1 pick in the 2022 NBA draft despite not being the best player on his team! In my opinion Gonzaga junior Drew Timme will be the best player in college basketball next season while Holmgren will be the best NBA prospect.
Timme is coming off a strong sophomore season where he averaged 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists while shooting 65% from the floor on a Zags team that made it to the Final Four before losing NCAA title game to a hungry Baylor squad. Timme, Holmgren and McDonald's All American Hunter Sallis are expected to lead Gonzaga back to the Final Four and will likely begin the season as the #1 team in the nation. And all eyes will be on the lanky sharp shooter from Minnesota who followed Jalen Suggs path from the Twin Cites to Spokane, Washington.
I personally think Holmgren’s unique blend of size, length, skills, shooting and rim protection should make him a lock to be the # 1 pick.
The label "unicorn" has been thrown around a lot over the past few years in the basketball world, but you can make a case and say Holmgren is the most deserving of the high praise.
Holmgren is 7 footer that can handle, shoot with efficiency from 3, create scoring opportunities for teammates who also glides across the floor like a natural wing. Defensively he’s a high level shot blocker that can also defend in space and screw up an opponents offensive game plan. I truly believe he has the highest upside in this draft class and will be the face of a franchise if he can maximize his potential.
The main concern about Holmgren’s NBA potential would be largely related to his frame or lack there of. He’s listed 195 pounds and his body doesn’t look like he can add a lot of bulk or weight, which could impact his draft stock as teams may be worried about his durability. I can imagine comparisons to Kristaps Porzingis , another player labeled a unicorn, will mentioned often between now and the draft.
Although, it's concerning, I'd still take Holmgren number #1. Despite the fact he looks like he’s skinny enough to dodge range drops, he’s what I called skinny tough. He plays with heart, aggression and with competitive fire. Let's be honest, there’s a stereotype that slim 7 footers who can shoot the lights out are usually soft and avoid contact and physicality.
Chet Holmgren does not fall in that category.
Rafael Barlowe - October 2, 2021