The 2022 NBA draft seemingly has a clear top three of Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith and Paolo Banchero, but some think Holmgren could slide on draft night.
In a mailbag, James L. Edwards III of The Athletic outlined a scenario where Holmgren could fall to the Detroit Pistons at No. 5 overall after Jaden Ivey and Keegan Murray go off the board.
"Holmgren, more than Smith or Banchero, is the one you hear rumblings about potentially falling out of the top three, though I think it's unlikely," Edwards wrote.
This would be surprising since the Gonzaga center has long been considered a candidate to go No. 1 overall. He averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game in his only college season.
Holmgren shot 60.7 percent from the field and 39.0 percent from three-point range, and his 68.0 effective field-goal percentage led the nation, per Sports Reference. His 78.7 defensive rating was also the best in college basketball.
The two-way efficiency could help him make an immediate impact in the NBA.
Some have concerns about Holmgren's size at 7'0" and 195 pounds. Despite his athleticism and natural instincts defensively, he needs to add a lot of strength to defend elite centers like Joel Embiid (7'0", 280 lbs) and Nikola Jokic (6'11", 284 lbs).
Holmgren would also encounter a major step up in competition after dominating the West Coast Conference last year. He struggled to make an offensive impact against more athletic teams, scoring just 20 points combined in his final two NCAA tournament games against Memphis and Arkansas.
Scouts might be more likely to trust Smith and Banchero, both athletic forwards with wide offensive skill sets.