Gonzaga freshman Chet Holmgren was the top high school recruit in his class and is the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. As such, he’s subject to a lot of scrutiny.
Most of the skepticism about Holmgren as a prospect though, is less about his game and more about how skinny he is. At least that’s the case with my uncle who was watching the Gonzaga vs. UCLA game with me two nights before Thanksgiving.
“If he’s the No. 1 recruit then the state of basketball is in trouble. I’d box him out,” he said.
Sorry to my uncle if he’s reading this, but you absolutely would not. I then tried to explain why Holmgren is good; that he’s a 7-footer with a handle who broke a school record for blocks in his first ever college game.
It helped that every time my uncle would call him a “cue tip” or say that his legs look like they’re going to break when he lands, Holmgren would either block a shot or hit a three and then Dick Vitale would yell something like “Are you serious?! What do you mean he’s too skinny?!” as if he were directly responding to my uncle as Gonzaga boat raced then No. 2 UCLA by 20.
Listed at 7 feet (maybe taller) and 195 pounds, it’s impossible to deny that Holmgren is skinny. I’m not trying to tell you not to believe your lying eyes. It just won’t be a long-term detriment to his basketball ability.
My personal comp for Holmgren, Anthony Davis, was listed at 6-foot-10, 220 when he came into the league. Not quite as skinny as Holmgren, but still bulked up when he got to the league, currently being listed at 253 pounds. Giannis Antetokounmpo was 196 pounds when he was drafted, and is now 242. People tend to get heavier from the time they’re 19 years old, and if you don’t believe me, then check my findings in your closest mirror.
The big knock on Kevin Durant coming out of college was that he was too skinny and weak. I mean, how could you even think about drafting someone who can’t bench 185? I wonder how much Durant is worrying about his bench press when he’s draining a 30-footer with a hand in his face.
All this is to say that Homgren is going to be fine. His frame will fill out and he will continue to be really really good at basketball. Plus his weight is hardly the most important thing. What I would argue is more important is that this 7-footer can block a shot, bring the ball up the floor, get by a defender at the three-point line with a behind-the-back dribble, and then dunk it. How
much does that weigh?