Presti selected Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren as the number 2 overall NBA Draft. Chet Holmgren knows all about the previous top picks, but he's not in
Presti selected Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren as the number 2 overall NBA Draft. Chet Holmgren knows all about the previous top picks, but he’s not interested in comparisons.
“It’s hard to miss those guys and what they’ve done if you watch a lot of basketball, and I watch a lot of basketball,” Holmgren said Saturday during his introductory media session. “They have done some special things here and elsewhere, wherever they have gone. Great players. It’s not necessarily pressure, it’s just that I have expectations and goals for myself and I want to work hard to achieve them.”
Presti wouldn’t say adding Holmgren marked a shift from collecting assets to moving forward, but he feels Holmgren is an important piece in the Thunder’s future plans.
The Oklahoma City Thunder went 24-58 last season and missed the playoffs for the second straight year after a decade-long streak of success that included four trips to the Western Conference Finals. Now, they have a player with star potential to go along with the young talent they have been developing in recent years.
“We want to have a long streak of sustained success that is going to take some time to get to that point,” Presti said after the draft. “We think he (Holmgren) is a critical part, but we’re going to have to put him in positions for him to be successful. I am very confident that he will be ready, willing and able to do all the work. That’s one of the things about him that was really attractive.”
Of the previous Oklahoma City Thunder picks, Holmgren is most similar to Durant: a versatile, slender 7-footer who played a year in college. And the way he describes his game sounds a lot like what Durant does.
“Just going out there and being a great floor spacer, vertically and horizontally, whether it’s lob threats, spacing the floor threes, finding them in transition, whatever the coach comes up with, I feel like I can go out there and help execute that and help my teammates to be better, as well as help me to be better,” he said.
Chet Holmgren hopes to join Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 24.5 points last season and Giddey was on the NBA’s rookie second team.
“I feel like I fit in pretty well with them,” Holmgren said. “Obviously, they are great players. They can do a lot of things on the basketball court. Shai is known as a very good scorer. He can get anywhere on the floor he wants without much help, and Josh is a great passer. They both really change up the defense and move the defense up,” said the new Oklahoma City Thunder player.