NBA Draft 2022 Chet Holmgren Scouting Report

The Thing cannot be described – there is no language for such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order.


Chet Thomas Holmgren is a 7-1 center/power forward who spent his freshman year at Gonzaga. Quick nerd tangent, it’s ironic that his Thomas is his middle name, since Thomas means twin, and we have never seen a prospect quite like him.  For most of his last two years in high school he was around the number 1 player in his class, and Gonzaga’s highest ever recruit. His pre-college career was full of success and various accolades. Which include

FIBA U19 MVP (Wembenyama should have won that, but still), four state championships, multiple National Player of the Year awards, and so on.

One of the biggest talking points during the season was his body/weight. I’m kinda of tired of it, especially just how shallow and uneducated it all is. Strength and weight are related but they aren’t always 1 to 1. For example, if you had a body builder and a power lifter of similar dimensions, meaning weight and height, the power lifter would be able to lift a much higher weight than the body builder. It all comes down to training, muscle fiber composition and so on. Another dumb thing I heard or read on a few places is that he won’t be able to put on weight, or hasn’t been able to because the kid is a vegan. That’s really dumb. There are multiple fitness models and body builders who are also vegan as well. Just google image Karl Bruder. The man finished in the top 10 in the Mr. Olympia contest multiple times.

But there are some reasons to be worried. The majority of his growth spurt was from eight to ninth grade. He went from 6 2 to 6 10. So, in the last 4,5 years he has grown 3 inches, but is still really skinny.


Every time I watch him play; I reach the same conclusion. Everyone on the court and in the arena thinks and knows he’s skinny. There is only one person who doesn’t give a flying F about that, and that person is Holmgren himself. He plays with as much hands-on physicality as his Tim Burtonesque body allows him. He boxes out constantly, grabs, pulls, doing a million small things to create an advantage. But dude push him around in the post. I remember the game against UCLA where Miles Johnson basically teleported him a few times. But he fights back, every single time and recovers. The combination of length, anticipation and hand eye coordination allows him to negate the disadvantage and both contest and block shots at the rim.

Projects as an top tier drop rim protector. Has the size and length, but also the spacial awareness. Knows his body and length well, always positioning himself just right in the tringle of the rim, his man and the ball handler. The IQ, anticipation and length make him a generational help side rim protector.

The size, length and anticipation allow for a lot of opportunities around the rim. While the vertical jump isn’t jaw dropping, his jumps, both first and second are quick. He is a crafty finisher around the rim, with soft touch with both hands.

I’m really high on his shot going forward. He had a streak there when he was over 50%. The form looks really good. Every single part of his gangly body flows in unison every time he shoots it. He can rush a release at times, but when he is set, composed and open its looks like it splashes. I see him as someone who will mostly shoot trailer, pick and pop, and corner 3s. It would be interesting to see if he could turn into a off screens shooter. He does handle the ball well for his size, but I wonder if that will work against NBA Athletes.

I felt like he was an underused passer and creator at Gonzaga. He could have initiated more in transition, has enough handle to grab and go. Had some really fun coast to coast highlights. He makes quality decisions with the ball in half court, making the extra pass. You can use him in the elbow, where he can either shoot over a defender or spot cutters. Adjusted well to playing with Drew Timme, fed him constantly with nice High-Low passes.

His lateral movements leave things to be desired. While does bother some wings, speedy guards get by him. But he does have the length to recover. The NBA floor is bigger, wider ,with more space to drive and I wonder if you put him on an island against a shifty guard, how well will he recover. He also struggled against movement shooters. Not just running around after them, but biting on fakes as well. The are moments, even consecutive possessions out of the perimeter when he lunges at shooters no matter how poor the fake. The fouls are an issue as well. He was around 3.8 fouls per 40, which ballooned to a very worrying 5 per 40 against top competition. Fouls are one stat that most often increases in the NBA and when it comes to bigs, it’s a major red flag which either causes serious minutes issues, like with JJJ or just ruins people’s careers.

To be ignorant of what occurred before your Time is to always remain the Sacramento Kings – Marcus Tullius Cicero

In this part of the profile, we look at how the advanced and per 100 possession stats of a given prospect compare with the stats of the guys drafted in the last 10 or so drafts. (And yes, this is a real quote by Cicero from his Ranadivian Disputations)

First a quick look at his advanced stats. And wow. He looks like a generational player, especially in terms of defensive impact. His def rebounds, blocks, defensive win shares and defensive box plus minus are all around 95% or higher. He is also one of the most efficient players in terms of scoring we had ever had. The number of threes taken is also great.

The downsides. The combination of low usage with high turnovers is bad.

The per 100 possessions stats tell a similar story. But they also caution towards something I already mentioned. The foul rate is alarming. His inability to get to the line shows that maybe there isn’t any true number 1 option on a team potential.

Defensive Metrics

In terms of defensive impact, Chet Holmgren had a defensive box plus minus of 7. When it comes to “playmaking” on the defensive end he amassed a stellar block rate of 11,9 and a steal rate of 1,6. He excelled as a defensive rebounder with a defensive rebound percentage of 28,7, which went over 30 in top 50 games. He was good on the offensive glass with 8,1% offensive rebound rate. The offensive rebounding rate would have probably been even higher if he didn’t have to space the floor for Timme, who used up most of their around the post possessions.

When we look for drafted freshmen who posted a similar DBPM and were of a similar height we get the following names:

Intriguing list of names. WCS is a good rim protector but other issues keep him out of the court. Towns comes and goes defensively. His biggest issue is his focus, intensity and just boneheaded fouls, which really came to bite Minnesota in the ass in this year’s playoffs. To my eyes, Chet’s impact will be similar to that of JJJ. They are both super long, and while Jackson is the superior athlete, especially laterally, I think Chet’s length and IQ will make up for that. The big question is, will Chet’s foul issues mirror that of JJJ and hinder him from impacting the game for more than 25 26 minutes when it counts.

Will He Be Able To Space the Floor

Chet Holmgren took 6,6 threes per 100 possessions and made 39% of them. He also shot free throws at a 71,7%. The only freshman who posted similar numbers and was of a similar high was Zach Collins. So I expanded the list further, to players who are 6 5 at least. This is the list of players

A bit up and down, but a lot of reasons for optimism. Bennett and Johnson couldn’t really shoot as well as Chet does, and their FTs were lower. Shabaz could have had better shooting numbers in the NBA if he played a different role. Lonzo Ball seems like the shooting floor for me. A solid catch and shot guy who rarely creates shots for himself. I really believe in the shot, so I think Chet will be a 40% from three kind of guy. I’m curious if he can add off the dribble 3s the way Haliburton did as well. Neither of them had the tools to create separation consistently. Haliburton also has a very unique shooting motion. Chet’s shooting form is superior. The highest ceiling would be Niang, who is a career over 40% and shoots a very high volume of 8 per 75 possesions.

Creation for Others

 Chet Holmgren posted an assist rate of 11,4 and had a ast/to rate of 1. If we look for freshmen of similar size who also posted these numbers, we get the following group of guys:

The worst passer out of them is Towns. While he averages more assists than Mobley currently, its easy to see Evan continue to improve and end up an around 4 assists per game kind of guy. I think that Chet has more upside as a creator than he has shown during his time at Gonzaga. I’m especially high on his ability to initate transition and spot cutters from the high post. While he won’t have the same scoring gravity as Embiid, but due to his IQ, Vision and Handle, Chet could end up a guy who is close to 4 assists for his career and a has a few seasons of 5+ assists per game.

Self Creation

Holmgren had put up a usage of 21,4, which is your usual rim running, dunking big type of usage, but he also put up an absolutely astonishing true shooting percentage of 69,1. If we look for drafted freshmen who put up similar number, and are of similar height, we get the following group of players:

Lets rid ourselves of the unrealistic first. Chet is a skilled player for his size, but there’s no way he can be a dominant scorer as Embiid is in the NBA. Totally different bodies, totally different games. On the opposite spectrum. He won’t struggled and be absolutely unplayable the way Patton was. I’m worried about Chet’s fouling, but he won’t approach Patton’s rate of 10% foul rate in any case. That leaves us with Collins and Zeller. Collins would be the floor. They had sort of a similar game in college. Collins’ body is always injuried and he never got to fulfill his potential. If Chet struggles physically in the NBA, there he might end up a second Collins. Unlike Zeller, Chet is longer and I think will shoot threes. So the the highest outcome as I see it and the one I buy the most, is a player of Zeller’s impact, plus a few three’s more per game. Chet in my eyes is a very efficient 18 per game in his prime.

Four Modern Prometheuses

When we line up all the advance stats comps we get 3 possible outcomes

Average Outcome

The Scoring Gravity of  Cody Zeller, The Creation of KAT, The Floor Spacing of Lonzo Ball, the defensive impact of WCS

Or in per 75 possession stats

15 points on plus 2 TS, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 36,5% from three on 7 attempts

Best Outcome

The Scoring Gravity of Cody Zeller with elite floorspacing, The Creation of Embiid, The Floor Spacing of Georges Niang, the defensive impact of Jaren Jackson Jr

Or in per 75 possession stats

18 points on plus 4 TS, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 41% from three on 8 attempts,

Worst Outcome

The Scoring Gravity of Zach Collins, The Creation of Poeltl, The Floor Spacing of Lonzo Ball, the defensive impact of Towns

Or in per 75 possession stats

13 points on League Average TS, 10 rebounds, 2,5 assists, 36% from three on 6 attempts

My Frankenstein

When I put tape and stats together, I predict X as the fusion of the following parts:

The Scoring Gravity of Cody Zeller with elite floorspacing, The Creation of Embiid, The Floor Spacing of Doug McDermont, the defensive impact of Jaren Jackson Jr

Or in per 75 possession stats

18 points on plus 4 TS, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 40% from three on 6 attempts per game

Projected Rookie Season Numbers per 75 possessions


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