Chet Holmgren always seemed to fit what the Thunder wanted at this point in the rebuilding process. He’s uniquely skilled for his position, an elite rim protector and has arguably the most upside of any player in the draft. The guard combo of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey were desperate for a play finisher last season, and they now have a big man who can finish at the rim and stretch out for 3-pointers.
The word “unique” is overused in scouting circles, but Holmgren is that. A prospect like this has never entered the draft before. He’s so skilled but so skinny. He is one of the best defenders I have ever evaluated as a teenager. He’s positionally elite already and has every length-based tool at 7 feet tall with a 7-6 wingspan. His anticipation and instincts are insane. And beyond that, he’s genuinely tough and competitive. Offensively, he has all the skills. He can shoot, he can dribble in open spaces, and he’s a good passer. But does he have the athleticism or burst to separate? It all comes down to functionality. Can Holmgren’s frame functionally work at the NBA level, even with him possessing a skill set that is more complete than any other player in this class? If Holmgren had Evan Mobley’s strength at 215 pounds, he would be the no-brainer No. 1 overall prospect, even with some of the questions I have about him as a shot creator.
Chet will take some time to develop, but this is only the second draft for the Thunder in their rebuild and they can afford to let Chet develop at his own pace. His frame is the biggest concern moving forward, along with his halfcourt offensive game. If both of those develop, the Thunder could have a star on their hands.
(Photo of Chet Holmgren: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)