2022 NBA Draft: Chet Holmgren’s Strengths and Weaknesses 

Josh Cohen
Digital News Manager


Rim Protection

Blocking shots is what the 7-foot Chet Holmgren does best. He tied Brandon Clarke for the most blocks in a season in Gonzaga history with 117 of them. He had at least six rejections in five of his 32 college games, including amassing seven of them in the Bulldogs’ opening-round NCAA Tournament win over Georgia State. His 3.7 blocks-per-game average ranked first in the West Coast Conference this past season and fourth in the country.   

Switch Defense

Bigs nowadays need to be able to defend in space. If they can’t, coaches often pull them, especially down the stretch of a close game. Staying between a ball handler and the basket is something Holmgren did somewhat effectively in college. Even in times when they beat him off the dribble, he used that 7-foot-6 wingspan of his to get back into the play and alter, or even block the shot. Opponents shot 31 percent in isolation when Holmgren was the on-ball defender. 

3-Point Shooting

It’s stating the obvious, but the more 3-point shooters an NBA team has on their roster, the better they usually are offensively. Not a conventional big anyway, but Holmgren checks this box. He shot 39 percent from downtown on 105 attempts. Important, though, is that he’s not just a spot-up shooter. Some of his 41 triples came directly out of the pick-and-pop; some derived as a trailer in transition; and some he took pulling up after dribbling the ball up the court. 

Touch Around Basket

Holmgren’s 73.7 percent shooting inside the arc ranked No. 1 in the entire country, and his 69.1 percent true shooting percentage ranked No. 2. He also shot 87 percent right near the basket, where he was able to demonstrate his soft touch, nifty footwork, and ability to score through contact despite his thin 195-pound frame. Many of his buckets were dunks – either off lobs or drop-offs when he hung out in the dunker spot. He also occasionally showcased a Dirk Nowitzki-esque one-legged fadeaway. 

Areas to Improve

Shot Creation

While he has decent handles and is quite shifty for a 7-footer, Holmgren moves very slowly with the ball in his hands. Rarely will he elude a defender off the dribble, although he did occasionally shake off aggressive opponents with a spin move or a behind-the-back dribble, something you don’t usually see from someone his height. The bottom line is that for him to become a more prolific scorer, he’s going to have to develop more creativity when looking for his own shot. 

Body Mass

This is the one you hear most about. Obviously, he’s very thin. He got backed down in the paint easily in college, although in some of those instances, he still managed to block or alter a shot. Encouraging, however, is that he’s unafraid of contact and, just using the eye test, seems to not mind a physical brand of basketball. 

NBA Comparisons

Ceiling: Pau Gasol/Dirk Nowitzki/Kristaps Porzingis on offense and Evan Mobley/Rudy Gobert on defense

Others he’s like: Aleksej Pokusevski on offense and Shawn Bradley/Marcus Camby on defense

Quick Hits

Age: 19 (turns 20 on May 2)

Height: 7'0

Weight: 195

Position: Center/Power Forward

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

College: Gonzaga

Strengths: Shot Blocking, Defending in Space, High Basketball IQ, Finishing Around Basket, Great Hands, Floor Stretching, Shifty Movements, Length

Weaknesses: Shot Creation, Ball Security, Speed, Screening, Body Mass

College Roundup: Scored in double figures in 26 of his 32 games at Gonzaga, blocked five or more shots in seven contests and recorded 13 double-doubles. As a freshman, he was named a consensus second-team All-American, the WCC Defensive Player of the Year, and the WCC Newcomer of the Year.

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