Houston Rockets’ NBA Draft Meta Big Board Top-5 Prospects: Part 3 #3

Georgia State v Gonzaga
Georgia State v Gonzaga / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The Houston Rockets have the third overall pick, which means the third-ranked prospect in the 2022 NBA Draft should be there for the taking. However, the wisdom of the crowd appears to diverge from the consensus among NBA front offices. Only time will tell who's right.

If you've missed parts 1 or 2 you can take a get an in-depth analysis of Keegan Murray and Jaden Ivey.

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The Meta Big Board

This is the second year I’ve done a meta big board. The general premise behind the exercise is two-fold. First, I am not an amateur basketball aficionado, and second, it is the belief in the wisdom of the crowd. By taking the work of many experts and aggregating it you can come to a better answer than relying on your own or another’s individual judgment. In essence, this big board aims to stand on the shoulders of giants and call itself tall. 

Last season, I aggregated eight different big boards and then averaged each prospect’s ranking. Using the same method as before, but this time with 11 different publications, I once again created a meta big board for the 2022 NBA Draft. In this piece, I’ll take the scouting consensus and provide the statistical profile of each prospect. Unfortunately, no player in the top five of the meta big board did physical measurements at the draft combine. 

#3 Chet Holmgren

Chet Holmgren would be my personal number one overall prospect, but, alas, the crowd pegs him as the third-best player. His size, length, relative mobility, and instincts present a prospect who could be a multiple Defensive Player of the Year recipient. He has garnered Rudy Gobert comparisons on defense, and at this stage in their development, Holmgren is far more comfortable defending the perimeter and in space. 

The most consistent knock on Holmgren is his lack of weight. He is rail-thin, and his frame doesn’t suggest a sizeable amount of bulk can be added. However, the NBA has moved away from bulky centers, and worrying over how he’ll do against Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic in the post is like not buying a car in Houston because you’re concerned about how it’ll perform in snow. 

Defensively, Holmgren will be a plus rim protector, the most impactful defensive trait. How he defends in space and one-on-one situations on the perimeter will determine if he’s an All-time defender or merely very good. 

His offensive game, while not as tantalizing as his defensive potential, still suggests a highly impactful player, just one that is unlikely to grow into a number one option. Holmgren has impressive ball-handling and shooting for a player of his size, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever be given the rock and asked to cook. 

There’s a real chance he will be a 40% 3-point shooter that is also an elite pick-and-roll finisher. If he develops a mid-range fadeaway game, his offense could become borderline elite. However, he hardly took any mid-range jumpers, so there’s no way to know based on his college tape.

As a passer, Holmgren isn’t likely to blow anyone away, but he has a strong feel for the game and can be expected to make quick and decisive reads, a trait that all too many centers lack completely. 

Statistically, if it wasn’t for Keegan Murray, Holmgren would have had a chance to claim the mantle of the most statistically dominant collegiate player. His basic box score statistics of 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 3.7 blocks per game don’t do him justice because he only played 26.9 minutes a game. While Holmgren’s college competition wasn’t very strong in the WCC, he was not the focal point of Gonzaga’s offense. 

In my meta big board, he had an average ranking of 2.55 with a range between first and fourth. Him going in the top-three appears to be a lock, but where still looks murky. However, most mock drafts have him going first or second. Holmgren looks like a lock to be a very valuable player, especially in the regular season. He should have little trouble being an elite drop coverage big, pick-and-roll finisher, and a solid stretch option for his position. His ceiling is an MVP caliber player, but developing that type of offensive game appears less likely than a few of his peers.

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