Chet Holmgren

Thunder Sign Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams To Rookie Deals

The Thunder have signed a couple of their first-round draft picks, Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams, according to NBA.com’s official transactions log.

Holmgren was the second pick of the draft after spending one season with Gonzaga. In 32 games (26.9 MPG) for the Bulldogs, the 7’0″ Holmgren averaged 14.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG and 3.7 BPG on .607/.390/.717 shooting.

Williams was the 12th pick of the draft after three seasons with Santa Clara. In 33 games (34.8 MPG) as a junior for the Broncos, the 6’6″ wing averaged 18 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 4.2 APG and 1.2 SPG on .513/.396/.809 shooting.

Oklahoma City has been in rebuilding mode for a couple of seasons now, but the influx of young talent should help accelerate the team’s progression. Holmgren was considered the top prospect in the draft by many talent evaluators, while Williams was a draft riser after strong athletic testing numbers and standout scrimmage performances at the combine in Chicago last month.

Assuming Holmgren and Williams sign for 120% of the rookie scale, which virtually every first-rounder does, they’ll be in line for first-year salaries of $9.89MM and $4.34MM, respectively.

Thunder Select Chet Holmgren Second Overall In 2022 Draft

The Thunder have selected Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren with the second overall pick of the 2022 NBA draft.

In 32 games (26.9) as a freshman this season, the 7’0″ Holmgren averaged 14.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.9 APG and 3.7 BPG. The 20-year-old also boasted an impressing shooting slash line of .607/.390/.717.

Holmgren won numerous awards for his impressive season, including Consensus All-America Second Team, All-WCC First Team, and WCC Defensive Player of the Year, among others.

Holmgren helped lead the Bulldogs to a 28-4 record and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament in 2021/22. They ultimately fell to Arkansas in the Sweet Sixteen, ending their tournament run.

Weighing just 195 pounds, Holmgren has been a somewhat divisive prospect for talent evaluators. Some are enamored by his length (7’6″ wingspan) and overall skillset, as he’s an outstanding shot blocker, rebounder, and inside finisher. He also has some guard-like skills, capable of starting a fast break after a defensive rebound with his ball handling on top of being a solid passer, and a good shooter with space.

The Thunder are known for playing their cards close to the vest, so many around the league were curious if they’d actually select Holmgren, but clearly they viewed his upside as too good to pass up.

Woj: Top Three Picks In Draft Look “Increasingly Firm”

Despite some intriguing developments at sportsbooks, the top three picks in the draft still appear likely to play out as widely expected, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski, a projected top three of Jabari Smith to the Magic at No. 1, Chet Holmgren to the Thunder at No. 2, and Paolo Banchero to the Rockets at No. 3 looks “increasingly firm.”

Woj’s report comes on the heels of oddsmakers listing Banchero as the new favorite to be selected first overall.

Smith, Holmgren, and Banchero have long been grouped together as the draft’s top three prospects and each have a case to be considered at No. 1, but reports for weeks have suggested a belief that Orlando is leaning toward Smith, with Oklahoma City likely to take Holmgren.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony wrote this week that virtually every NBA team expects the Magic to select Smith and would be very surprised if they go in another direction.

If Wojnarowski is right and there are no major surprises in the top three, tonight’s fun could begin at No. 4, where the Kings have been linked to both Jaden Ivey and Keegan Murray and are reportedly considering trading the pick.

Draft Notes: Mocks, Big Men, O’Neal, Jovic, Kessler

Both John Hollinger of The Athletic and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report recently released their final mock drafts ahead of tomorrow’s 2022 NBA draft. The divergence between the two starts at the top, with Hollinger projecting Chet Holmgren to go No. 1 overall to the Magic, while Wasserman takes the more common approach with Jabari Smith going to Orlando.

Hollinger notes that Orlando’s front office has shown an affinity for length in the past, and believes Holmgren’s tantalizing rim protection skills might be too enticing to pass up. Wasserman, on the other hand, says Holmgren’s thin frame and “slower delivery when creating” make some talent evaluators slightly nervous, and Smith’s age (he’s a year younger than Holmgren) and maturity make him a safer choice, plus Smith is considered to have as much upside as anyone in the draft.

There’s considerable overlap in several spots between the two mock drafts, but perhaps not in areas one might expect. For example, both mocks have Jaden Ivey going No. 4 to Sacramento, even though the guard hasn’t worked out for or been in contact Kings, and wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the prospect of joining the team in a media session earlier this week.

As Wasserman observes, the Kings didn’t work out Davion Mitchell or Tyrese Haliburton prior to drafting them with their two most recent lottery picks, so if Ivey is the top prospect on their board, don’t be surprised if he’s selected (Haliburton was traded to Indiana in February for Domantas Sabonis).

Both Hollinger and Wasserman have Wendell Moore Jr. going No. 22 to Memphis, which is interesting because he’s ranked No. 33 on ESPN’s big board, so that’s a pretty sizeable jump up. Hollinger also hears the Grizzlies are fans of Dalen Terry, who is No. 24 on ESPN’s board. Memphis is reportedly interested in moving up in the draft, as it controls the Nos. 29 and 47 picks in addition to No. 22.

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

  • David Aldridge of The Athletic queried college coaches, scouts and NBA executives to get their anonymous opinions on the top-rated big men in the draft, including Holmgren, whom one Western Conference executive described as a “mystery.” “You just don’t know how he and the body are going to react to the next level of stress,” the exec said. “… His skill level is awesome, but who does he guard at the next level? What does he play? Hardest-working freshman ever at Gonzaga. Work ethic and intangibles are way better than what showed up on the court.”
  • Shareef O’Neal, the son of Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal, said his father was against him leaving school early. “We kind of bump heads about this process,” Shareef said, per Kyle Goon of The Southern California Newsgroup. “He wanted me to stay in school. I wanted to better myself through this. He knows I’m working out with teams. But I’m not gonna lie, we ain’t talked about this.” Shareef isn’t ranked on ESPN’s board, so he’s considered likely to go undrafted.
  • Nikola Jovic and Walker Kessler have become the 23rd and 24th prospects to receive green room invitations, sources tell Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links). Jovic is ranked No. 27 on ESPN’s board, while Kessler is No. 23.

Draft Rumors: Banchero, Magic, Smith, Kings, Murray, Pelicans, More

As Matt Moore of Action Network details, several oddsmakers have significantly moved their betting lines on Paolo Banchero in recent days, signaling that he’s no longer considered as much of a long shot to be this year’s No. 1 overall pick. However, executives around the NBA still widely expect Jabari Smith to be the first player off the board, reports Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

According to Fischer, Banchero was scheduled to meet with the Magic on Monday, but sources close to the Duke forward remain skeptical that he’s receiving serious consideration at No. 1. Fischer suggests that Smith and his representatives have been the most enthusiastic about landing in Orlando, while Chet Holmgren and his reps are thought to prefer the Thunder, since they believe there’s a stronger infrastructure in Oklahoma City to support the big man’s development.

As for Banchero, sources tell Fischer that he’d be happy to end up with the Rockets. The Seattle native has connections with general manager Rafael Stone, who is also from Seattle, and likes the idea of forming a dynamic offensive duo with Jalen Green.

At No. 4, the Kings remain a wild card, according to Fischer, who adds the Spurs to the list of teams interested in moving up in the lottery. The Spurs and Pacers are believed to be eyeing Keegan Murray, while the Wizards and Knicks are targeting Jaden Ivey, Fischer notes.

The Pistons were previously identified as a team exploring a trade up to No. 4, but Fischer suggests Detroit has “projected a strong confidence” that Ivey will be available at No. 5 if Sacramento keeps its pick, since teams drafting behind the Kings are preparing for them to select Murray.

Here’s more on the 2022 NBA draft, which is now just two days away:

  • Teams drafting behind the Pelicans (No. 8) believe they’re a candidate to trade down, according to Fischer, who identifies the Thunder (No. 12) as a potential trade partner for New Orleans. Fischer says rivals suspect the Pelicans like Dyson Daniels and Bennedict Mathurin, so if at least one of them is still on the board at No. 8, they may be more inclined to hang onto the pick.
  • There’s a “strong possibility” the Rockets will look to further expand their Christian Wood trade with the Mavericks, which isn’t yet official. Dallas’ side of the deal would presumably remain unchanged, but Houston could tweak the structure of the trade by including another team and additional pieces. Fischer suggests a move related to the No. 17 pick could be folded into the transaction.
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic has heard from agents that many teams drafting in the second round – even in the 30s – are calling to see if certain prospects will agree to two-way contracts. That could result in some players who project as second-rounders ultimately going undrafted if they don’t want to accept a two-way offer.
  • Vecenie adds that many of the picks in the 30s are candidates to be traded, since teams without picks are pursuing those selections. The Lakers are among the clubs said to be very much in the market for a second-rounder.

Draft Notes: Magic, Sochan, Hardy, Daniels

While such comments typically produce eye rolls, president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman insists the Magic haven’t decided who they’ll take with the top overall pick, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Weltman says “it’s still early in the process,” even though draft night is Thursday. “Dialogue is always ongoing,” Weltman said. “But, most importantly, we get to do what we want. That’s the real benefit of having the No. 1 pick.”

Orlando is expected to draft either Jabari Smith or Chet Holmgren.

We have more draft-related info:

  • Baylor’s Jeremy Sochan attended the Wizards’ pre-draft workout on Monday but didn’t participate due to an injury, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Sochan sat out with a mild hamstring strain. Washington owns the No. 1o pick. Sochan is ranked No. 15 on ESPN’s Best Available list.
  • G League Ignite guard Jaden Hardy, ranked No. 22 by ESPN, worked out for the Sixers on Monday, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. St. Joseph’s forward Jordan Hall, Delaware guard Kevin Anderson, Alabama guard Keon Ellis, Baylor wing Kendall Brown and UNLV shooting guard Bryce Hamilton joined him, Pompey adds in another tweet. Philadelphia owns the No. 23 pick.
  • G League Ignite guard Dyson Daniels cancelled a visit with the Kings after receiving a green room invitation, Sean Cunningham of KTXL tweets. Daniels is ranked No. 6 by ESPN. Daniels is the second-ranked point guard behind Jaden Ivey, who revealed that he hasn’t had contact with the team holding the No. 4 pick.

Draft Notes: Ivey, Griffin, Eason, Holmgren

Amid rumors that Sacramento isn’t his preferred landing spot, Purdue guard Jaden Ivey was asked directly during a Monday media session about the prospect of joining the Kings and confirmed that he hasn’t worked out for the team or had any contact with them. Although he didn’t say outright that he doesn’t want to play for the Kings, Ivey wasn’t exactly brimming with enthusiasm when discussing the possibility.

“If I got drafted there, it wouldn’t be the worst option,” he said, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link).

As James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star tweets, Ivey said the only teams he has worked out for are the Magic and the Pistons, who hold the first and fifth overall picks, respectively. The Kings draft fourth overall.

Interestingly, while Ivey is expected to come off the board long before the Knicks are on the clock at No. 11, the Purdue standout said unprompted that he believes there “could be situations where I can land in New York,” as Zach Braziller of The New York Post writes. The Knicks would likely have to trade up to No. 4 to make that happen.

Here are a few more of Monday’s draft-related notes:

  • Speaking to reporters on Monday, Duke forward AJ Griffin confirmed his previously announced workouts with Indiana and Portland and said he also auditioned for the Pelicans, Spurs, and Knicks, per Jason Sacramento Bee of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). The teams Griffin worked out for range from No. 6 to No. 11 in Thursday’s draft.
  • The Hawks, Rockets, and Timberwolves are among the teams LSU forward Tari Eason has worked out for during the pre-draft process, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Those three clubs pick between Nos. 16 and 19.
  • In an in-depth profile, Tim Keown of ESPN takes a look at how Chet Holmgren became one of the nation’s top basketball prospects and explores what’s next for the seven-foot “unicorn.”

Draft Notes: Holmgren, J. Smith, NBA Academy, Hornets

Chet Holmgren may not wind up joining Jalen Suggs with the Magic, but he’s been getting draft advice from his long-time friend and high school teammate, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Before both players headed to Gonzaga for one-year stays, they teamed up at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.

“He said try to slow things down as fast as you can because everyone at that level plays slow, even when there’s seven seconds on the shot clock, nobody rushes,” Holmgren said. “Everyone knows seven seconds is a lot of time — in the NBA, you can get almost two more actions in that [time]. Other pointers, tips like that, about the NBA style of play.”

Holmgren met with Orlando’s front office this week and will be under consideration for the No. 1 pick, although most draft experts expect Auburn’s Jabari Smith to be taken first.

There’s more on the draft:

  • Ryan Blake, who has been helping to direct NBA scouting services since 1996, views Smith as worthy of the No. 1 selection, per Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Blake believes Smith will display skills that were inhibited by the more restricted college atmosphere. “His offensive game is going to be so much better in the NBA,” Blake said. “He had the confidence and maturity to play within the system at Auburn. You have a prototypical forward who can play two spots that can really almost be a Jayson Tatum-type of player. He has a great shooting stroke — the release [and] the soft touch. He’s a versatile defender. He’s intense. He’s moving his feet. He’s always looking around. He’s also a leader, too. He’s always in the mix.”
  • Josh Giddey was the first NBA Academy graduate to be drafted and three more players are expected to join him this year, Maurice Brooks writes for NBA.com. Dyson Daniels and Bennedict Mathurin will likely be lottery picks, while Hyunjung Lee is projected to be taken in the second round. The NBA Academy was created in 2016 to provide more opportunities for international players.
  • Six players will attend a workout for the Hornets today, the team announced on Twitter. They are Jules Bernard of UCLA, Nysier Brooks of Mississippi, Terrell Brown Jr. of Washington, Josh Carlton of Houston, Dereon Seabron of North Carolina State and Ben Shungu of Vermont.

Southeast Draft Notes: Holmgren, Hornets, Williams, O’Neal

Chet Holmgren met with the Magic‘s front office on Wednesday and Thursday, writes Matt Murschel of The Orlando Sentinel. Holmgren is the No. 1 prospect on ESPN’s big board, although his thin frame has caused some other talent evaluators to drop him a bit lower than that.

A person with knowledge of the situation tells Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press that the 20-year-old’s visit included “meetings, interviews and a dinner.” The Magic previously held a solo workout with Jabari Smith, and Paolo Banchero “expects to meet with” Orlando before the draft on June 23, according to Reynolds.

The big men are widely considered the top three prospects in the draft, and the Magic hold the No. 1 overall pick, so it makes perfect sense that they’re meeting with all of them.

In 32 games (26.9 MPG) in his lone college season with Gonzaga, Holmgren was a consensus All-American with averages of 14.1 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.9 APG and 3.7 BPG on .607/.390/.717 shooting.

Here are a few more draft-related notes from the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets, who control the Nos. 13, 15 and 45 picks in the 2022 draft, are hosting a group workout on Friday (Twitter link) featuring Malaki Branham, MarJon Beauchamp, Kendall Brown, Bryce McGowens, Isaiah Whaley and Trevion Williams. Branham (No. 13) and Beauchamp (No. 23) are both projected first-round picks, with McGowens (No. 33) and Brown (No. 38) considered early second-rounders. Williams also has a solid shot to get drafted going by ESPN’s rankings, as he’s No. 56 on the board, but Whaley isn’t listed.
  • Mark Williams has a solo workout with the Wizards on Saturday, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. Williams is a potential lottery picked at No. 14 on ESPN’s board, and Washington controls the No. 10 pick. The 7’0″ center averaged 11.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG and 2.8 BPG while shooting 72.1% from the floor and 72.7% from the free-throw line in 39 games (23.6 MPG) as a sophomore for Duke this season, winning ACC Defensive Player of the Year in the process.
  • Shareef O’Neal worked out for the Heat on Thursday, Robbins relays in another tweet. O’Neal only averaged 2.9 PPG and 2.1 RPG in 14 games (9.2 MPG) as a junior for LSU and isn’t considered a strong draft candidate, but perhaps he could be auditioning for summer league as an undrafted free agent. Miami currently controls the No. 27 pick.

And-Ones: Wembanyama, Russia, Draft’s Top 75, East Asia League

Victor Wembanyama, the potential No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft, may be leaving Asvel of the EuroLeague, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. The 7’3” big man has an opt-out clause that must be exercised before June 26. He signed a three-year deal with Asvel last summer but only averaged 6.5 PPG and 3.8 RPG in 13 games last season. Paris Basketball, which will be competing in EuroCup next season, is pursuing him, according to L’Equipe.

We have more from around the basketball world: