By Julian Basena
MINNEAPOLIS -- Upon his official arrival to NBA action, Minnesota native Chet Holmgren will be the subject of enough scrutiny to belie his No. 2 billing.
Even after becoming an All-American, averaging shooting splits and displaying ball skills that are not often replicated by players of his stature, the skepticism that followed him in his transition from high school to college still lingers in his move to the NBA following a spectacular freshman season at Gonzaga.
The Oklahoma City Thunder used their No. 2 selection on a stringy center who comes with questions about his size. Standing at 7 feet and 195 pounds, Holmgren boasts a frame that might suggest he could be easily bullied on professional hardwood.
Some experts suggest otherwise. ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said that Holmgren is "built for today's NBA'' and former NBA center Kendrick Perkins shared the same sentiment.
"Do not let the body frame fool you," Perkins said after Holmgren was selected. "He's mean, he's aggressive, and he's about that life."
Even so, the Thunder's newest young addition, expected to join a starting lineup that includes 20-point scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, rising star Josh Giddey, Lu Dort and Darius Bazley, has work to do when it comes to filling out his frame. But those closest to him have no doubt in his ability to squash any uncertainty.
"Everybody says the same thing about him — he's not this or not that,'' Dave Holmgren, Chet's father, told The Athletic. "And he just proves everybody wrong.''
Without the ideal body, Holmgren will be bringing his heralded skillset and approach to Oklahoma City to quell concern. His team-first attitude he showcased throughout his time as a centerpiece of Gonzaga's high-powered offense, coupled with his unrelenting work habits will likely translate to the NBA first before the rest of his qualities follow.
"There's always going to be people who say you can't,'' said former Ohio State big man and first overall selection Greg Oden, who also saw Holmgren at camps. "From what I saw, he's going to take that as a challenge."
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