Chet Holmgren has been linked to the Thunder for the entirety of the 2021-22 season as one of the key missing pieces on the current roster. His generational defense, size, and mobility make him a bear can’t-miss prospect.
In his lone season at Gonzaga, Holmgren averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks per game. The big man stands at 7-foot, 195 pounds, and turned 20-years-old at the beginning of May. He can match up at power forward or center and has an absurd 7-foot-6 wingspan.
While Holmgren draws comparisons to unicorn big men like Kristaps Porzingis, his real value is on the defensive end. Holmgren is an elite shot blocker with room to improve. He’s also mobile enough to switch and guard most positions on the floor if need be. His versatility has him locked in as a top-three pick.
He has also shown bursts of starting the break in transition. When Holmgren grabs a rebound and there’s nobody in front of him, he has good enough ball-handling skills to take off.
The Gonzaga star was also a surprisingly elite 3-point shooter last season. He finished the year shooting an impressive 39% from long range on 3.3 attempts per game. Before the NCAA Tournament, where he struggled from deep, he was hovering around 45% for much of the season.
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Holmgren also poses a lethal threat in the pick-and-roll game. With such an advanced, creative passer like Josh Giddey, it could be a match made in heaven.
His self-creation skills need work, but the potential is clearly there. On a team with two creators in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey, Holmgren won’t necessarily be asked to create his own shot all the time. He’s shown flashes of taking his man off the dribble with nice post moves inside.
While some view Holmgren as a boom-or-bust prospect, his elite defensive ability, combined with his offensive competency, make him a high-floor player. At his best, he is a game-changing center with generational size and talent.