The number one high school player for the class of 2021, Chet Holmgren lived up to the hype at Gonzaga as a freshman. The consensus All-American, WCC DPOY, and WCC ROY was one of the most dominant players in the country. As a freshman, Holmgren averaged 14 PPG, 10 RPG, 2 APG, 0.8 SPG, 3.7 BPG, and 2 TOPG on shooting splits of 61/39/72. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Chet Holmgren
Wingspan/ standing reach: ~7’6/ N/A
Hand size: N/A
Pre-Draft team: Gonzaga
Tools: Shot blocking
- Elite shot block timing
- Should be able to finish well at the rim in the NBA due to reach/length
- Strong defensive instincts
- Instinctual passer, both from a standstill and on the move
- Ability to stretch the floor
- Comfortable dribbling with both hands
- Finishes well with both hands, with deep range on finishing moves with both hands
- Elite trailer 3 point shooter
- Dangerous spin move
- Good rebounder
- Explosive with a head of steam
- Good recovery ability due to size & length
- Can use playmaking tools in transition
- Needs to add lots of weight; super skinny and can be pushed off ball
- Struggles to create his own offense off the dribble consistently
- Uses his hands a lot against post ups
- Needs to reduce foul trouble
Chet Holmgren is one of the most unique prospects the NBA has ever seen.
Defensively, Holmgren is mediocre to above-average on the perimeter guarding quicker players. However, because of his size & length, he can recover against blow-by’s better than most bigs, which adds to his defensive starpower. As a rim protector, he is an anchor on the defensive end, deterring shots from being taken at the rim and blocking/impacting shots taken at the rim. While he needs to reduce fouls, his instincts are elite for his age, making him a likely blocks champion down the road. Teams with elite rim protection generally see the most success in the regular season, so Chet’s ability to be an anchor to a winning defense could be franchise-changing.
Offensively, Chet’s ability to bring the ball up the floor and create a transition scoring opportunity at all three levels is incredibly unique for a freshman center. While his playmaking didn’t pop at Gonzaga like it did in high school, a key piece of context is that he was the 4th in line playmaker on the team. Since Holmgren can bring the ball up the floor well, which almost always creates a mismatch, his assist numbers should rise in the NBA. His ability to keep his head up while using his size to his advantage makes him unpredictable as a playmaker. Holmgren also has an excellent feel for open teammates, which helps him make the extra pass with accuracy on the perimeter. With a strong feel for the game, Chet wasn’t prone to many mistakes as a playmaker in college.
As a scorer, Holmgren has the upside to realistically score from anywhere on the floor. As a shooter, he can shoot off of simple dribble moves, as well as serving as a spot-up shooter. He does a lot of damage from all 3 levels in transition, which is where many of his off the dribble shooting came from at Gonzaga. As a scorer within the arc, Chet has a minimal sample size of mid range shooting, but there’s no reason to think that won’t develop in the NBA.
Best of all, Holmgren should be a good finisher in the NBA. His ability to use finesse finishing moves around defenders and to finish above the rim in traffic make him tough to guard, hence his elite FG% at the rim. With a strong spin move in traffic, plus ability to absorb contact on drives while being able to finish with both hands, Holmgren should see good finishing numbers in the NBA while also drawing a good number of fouls. This upside allows for Holmgren to have a realistic chance to become a near 20 PPG scorer.
Chet Holmgren has a chance to be a unicorn prospect as a do-it-all big man, and because of that elite upside that teams have dreamed of finding at his size, he is worthy of the number one pick.
Similar to: Better, higher IQ Mo Bamba; borderline uncomparable player
Projected draft range: 1-3
Expected role: Defensive anchor with floor-stretching ability and playmaking ability.
Unplayable if: Frame concerns keep him off the floor, or keep his defense from translating up to the NBA.
Exceeds expectations if: Skinny frame doesn’t limit his impact/ he stays healthy, plus creation abilities become unlocked with NBA spacing.