Sam Presti explains why he chose Chet Holmgren (and not Jabari Smith)

With the second pick, as had been suspected for some time, the Oklahoma City Thunder decided to draft Chet Holmgren. Very big potential, despite his intriguing profile and some questions about him, OKC had targeted him, very confident in this choice.

“I would just say that we were very comfortable with the idea of ​​him fitting into the group that we have,” explained Sam Presti. “I think there are some very, very good players at the top of this draft. It’s a very, very good draft. I think the draft as a whole – the last two drafts have been very good. But we thought he was the perfect fit for Oklahoma City. He was the perfect fit for the Thunder. We’re really excited to have the chance to add him to the roster.”

While for several days Jabari Smith had been announced as the favorite to be chosen first and Woj had even reported on the morning of the draft that the Magic had almost settled on the former Auburn, in the end it was on Paolo Banchero that Floridians have set their sights. Thus OKC had the opportunity to recover Smith. Sam Presti explained why in the end they preferred to select Gonzaga’s interior.

“Again, I think it’s a great draft,” said Sam Presti. “In my experience, drafts get better every year. I think a lot of that is because the players are much more skilled now than even 5 or 6 years ago. I think a lot of that has to do with some current stars in the league and the way they play has had a huge influence on the younger generation of basketball players. Steph Curry is probably the leader of this group. I think there was a real trickle down effect on the quality of the drafts. I really believe it.

Chet was the best person for us. I think he’s going to blend in with what we’re doing, and I think it’s clear in his mind that this is a great place for him to continue to grow as a player. I talked to him about that tonight and I talked about it even when we were spending time together, that like I said for Ousmane, things are getting harder now and it’s not going to go smoothly. But it hasn’t been smooth sailing for all the young players we’ve had here. There are going to be ups and downs. There will be difficult evenings. There will be beautiful evenings. But we don’t see this as a year-long adaptation. We are looking, as I said before, for a long period of success, and that will take some time to materialize. We think he’s an essential part of it, but we’re going to have to put him in a position to succeed. I am convinced that he will be ready, willing and able to provide all the work necessary. That’s one of the things that really appealed to me about him.”

The biggest question about Holmgren and his adaptation to the NBA is his frail physique. The Thunder is not worried about it given its qualities.

“Look, this is an adjustment for all NBA players,” Sam Presti said. “It doesn’t really matter. It has the advantage of having a unique size and wingspan. He competed against his pairs with the same attributes and faced some of the best draft players of recent years when he was in high school. He’s going to have to adapt and learn like any other player, but I think he’s unique, and if you look at some of the best NBA players, and I’m not saying he is or he’s it will be, but I think sometimes being unique is beneficial, and I think some of the things that produce it can be leveraged and used. But it’s going to be a process. He has to find solutions and we have to figure out how to set up situations for him to succeed. »


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