With the NBA season officially over, all attention turns to the upcoming NBA Draft.
On Thursday, the Oklahoma City Thunder will have the No. 2 overall pick, and with it comes the franchise’s most significant decision in recent years.
This will be the Thunder’s first top-three draft pick since 2009, when they selected James Harden.
Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren is the favorite to go second overall to Oklahoma City with -155 odds, according to DraftKings.
Let’s take an in-depth look at Holmgren and why he’s a perfect fit for the Thunder.
Weight: 195 pounds
As a consensus All-American, Holmgren proved to be elite at two things during his only collegiate season. One, the seven-footer is an elite shot blocker.
Holmgren averaged 3.7 blocks per game, ranking first in the West Coast Conference and fourth in the nation.
The NBA’s blocker leader, Jaren Jackson Jr, averaged 2.3 blocks per game.
Ridiculous game from Chet Holmgren; 19 points, 17 rebounds, 7 blocks, 5 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers. Completely dominated on both ends of the floor. Highlights, and overall talent, are absolutely insane. Highly anticipated matchup coming Saturday with Jalen Duren and Memphis. pic.twitter.com/HIKMOnIgSY— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) March 18, 2022
Also, Holmgren is a good stretch five, which is valuable in today’s NBA. During his freshman year, he shot 39% from three, which ranked second on his team.
Holmgren was highly efficient, shooting 60% from the field and 71% from the free-throw line.
The spacing Holmgren could add to the Thunder’s offense would be perfect for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, one of the league’s best at attacking the rim.
The apparent weakness when analyzing Holmgren is his size, as being under 200 pounds isn’t ideal for an NBA starting center.
Especially when centers like Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic dominate opponents the same size as them. However, as mentioned earlier, Holmgren’s frame hasn’t hindered his defensive impact.
Not to mention, several players have had shocking body transformations after entering the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a great example. He joined the league listed at 6’9” and 196 pounds.
Now the greek freak stands at 6’11” and 242 pounds. While Holmgren may not become as physically dominant as Antetokounmpo, expect him to become a more substantial presence in years.
Another weakness for Holmgren is assertiveness. The Gonzaga freshman often would defer to highly touted upper-level students in Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard.
Although it’s good Holmgren never forced things offensively, he also never took over a game. Holmgren’s season-high last year was 23 points, a season average for NBA stars.
Holmgren is undoubtedly one of the best players in this draft class and the best two-way player available. The multi-versatile forward is a superstar in the making with no actual ceiling.
As the betting favorite to go No.2 overall, Holmgren would immediately fit on the Thunder as their starting center.
If they decide to pass on Holmgren, another player on other mock drafts around the World Wide Web that OKC could potentially take would be Jeremy Sochan.
Our very own Jinal Tailor believes the Thunder could take Sochan because they desperately need a big wing who can defend multiple positions and play different roles on defense.
Sochan would address that issue and allow the Thunder to play additional coverages in the pick and roll.
Oklahoma City ran a lot of drop coverage last year, which secured the interior but gave up a ton of threes. Sochan’s size and ability at the point of attack would allow the Thunder to switch more often and be more unpredictable.
DraftKings has Sochan at +200 to go in the top 10.
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