Perspective The NBA has never seen the prospect of a draft like Chet Holmgren

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In a modern and democratized NBA, skills are paramount. It’s a charm, an intriguing new reality that anyone, regardless of size, can play anywhere on the floor if his or her game meets his or her aspirations.

Nikola Jokic, the reigning double MVP, is a 284-pound scoring center. Stephen Curry, now a four-time champion, is the only less than 6-foot-long superstar in league history to lead the dynasty. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic – they are essentially combined guards the size of traditional force attackers. Sometimes defenses put their highest player on the point defender. Sometimes attacks put their shortest player closest to the basket. The position you play in doesn’t matter as much as what you can do. With rules that eliminate excessive contact and allow freedom of movement, the NBA has adapted to the physical and athletic development of its players and improved the sport smoothly.

However, too, Chet Holmgren’s unusual talent may not be ready yet.

Weighing 7 feet and 195 pounds, Holmgren is intriguing and intimidating to NBA talent evaluators. For several years now, he has been on the draft radar as a definite top five voter. There is no doubt that he will be selected in the top three on Thursday. He is one of the most skillful seven-legged people to make it into the league, but even with open-mindedness and positions in the NBA, he’s worried about how his thin frame will hold up.

Holmgren is an elite that most teams wouldn’t dare pass on, but he’s a little intimidated by the process he needs to make the most of. Calling Holmgren a project is inaccurate because his talent is so clear. He moves and handles the ball like a guard. He protects the rim like a center. He scored 39 percent of his three-point attempt in his only season in Gonzaga. He plays with great intensity. She’s not soft at all. However, because he lacks volume, he needs imagination to predict his career.

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Holmgren is an important test of this creative era. Unlock his potential and the team has one of the most atypical two-way collusion nightmares the game has ever seen. If you don’t get the best out of it, the whole game loses its chance to become delightfully weirder and more unpredictable.

Holmgren is said to prefer Oklahoma City, which has Option 2. It is said that Orlando’s first-choice Auburn striker Jabari Smith is leaning towards the junior, who is another tall and skinny player who fits in perfectly with the combined form of attack we’ve seen before. Duke striker Paolo Banchero, who would go to Houston with a choice of 3 in this scenario, is probably the top of three players with his 250-pound frame and offensive repertoire, which is easily translated to the next level.

Holmgren has the right to play in Thunder. Oklahoma City is committed to rehabilitating the patient, giving them time to work and adjust to their body. It has a nice young scorer, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who shares a backyard with Josh Giddey, a 6-foot Australian. Most importantly, CEO Sam Presti is a relentlessly thought-out team builder who will lead Holmgren’s culture of player development and professionalism. Fifteen years ago, Kevin Duranti was drawn to the Prest with 2nd choice. Durant has always been great at a different game, but he came to the NBA as a highly skilled skinny boy who had graduated from university a year later and needed time for his body to catch up on his talent. He’s still slender, but he’s 25 pounds heavier and much stronger than a player who couldn’t lift a 185-pound bench press during a lift.

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Some of the things Presti did to create a team around Durant might apply to Holmgren. The differences are that Durant came at the beginning of the Prest process, not in the middle of the reconstruction, and Holmgren’s profiles are a defensive goal rather than a KD.

It’s hard to imagine Holmgren’s way big without a consistent presence on the defensive team. If he is not a shock blocker with a wide range of options to switch and cause any loss, he will not achieve his full value. The offense is pending.

It was wise for Holmgren to play in Gonzaga, a balanced program with a nationwide number 1 for Drew Timme. Holmgren had an average of 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks. He hit 60.7 percent, attacking and
scoring mostly in push-ups and open jumps. As effective as Holmgren was at the Bulldogs, coach Mark Few noticed the adjustments he had to make in the physical college game.

“The first week, two weeks, a month took me a while to really understand,” Few said during the NCAA tournament. “His game is not about scoring. He affects the game in so many ways that you can probably say that he affects the game more defensively than attacking.”

“You can find boys who weigh him 50 pounds or are physical and therefore sometimes it is difficult to really express all these skills, but at the same time he still gives you the opportunity to stretch the floor. He is very good if we can find him by the side. He can get the ball take it off the glass and take a break, and then all this time he gives us a unit we haven’t had in defense, we’ve never used so many people in the NBA to do it, but we’ve only been able to do it with Chet.

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Even if he is appointed star, Holmgren can take up to three years to become the perfect attacking man. Testing is the key to this process. When Presti drafts Holmgren, Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault has shown the ability to develop players and bend his philosophy to make the most of his list. Daigneault, 36, is one of those fresh thinkers who is taking over the NBA. When Holmgren finishes 1st or 3rd, Orlando will have a similar young coach, Jamahl Mosley, and Houston coach Stephen Silas will also be good at building talent-building talent. In the case of Orlando and Houston, however, it is a matter of organizational patience.

Few said of Holmgren: “It has an effect on the game that is sometimes difficult to measure.”

Holmgren moves with astonishing ease to obtain such an abnormally thin frame. He doesn’t look strong, he doesn’t seem to break. It looks as comfortable as unusual. His body needs work, and perhaps the minds of the staff who compiled it deserve the most attention.

With an era of NBA opportunity, someone should be able to conjure up what a star looks like for Holmgren.

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