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NBA Draft: Why Chet Holmgren's Slender Frame Raises Significant Medical Concerns for His Future in Pros

Sports Injury Central
Mar 24, 2022; San Francisco, CA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren (34) warms up before the
Mar 24, 2022; San Francisco, CA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren (34) warms up before the / Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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Chet Holmgren - SIC Health Score 71

By far the most divisive prospect in the 2022 NBA Draft is 7-foot, 195-pound forward Chet Holmgren.

Holmgren’s unique build and overflowing skillset give credence to claims that the forward, who is currently +2200 to go first overall and -310 to go second on FanDuel Sportsbook, will become the NBA’s next unicorn or that he will be bullied out of the paint by bulkier bigs.

However, our panel of Pro Basketball Docs have noted two medical red flags that raise significant concerns about Holmgren’s future.

He has an SIC health score of 71, but that can change depending on the results of the NBA’s entry health screening. 

The 20-year-old’s listed dimensions of 7’0” and 195 pounds – a number that is likely embellished as it is – is already on the low end of the BMI scale, according to the Docs. 

Holmgren will have to put on significant muscle to adjust to the next level, but it is unclear if putting on weight will hinder his position-bending skill set that has made him such a coveted prospect.

In his lone year in college, Holmgren averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks on 60.7% shooting and 39% from three, dominating as an interior defender, paint scorer and spot-up shooter while still being limited in Mark Few’s system. 

The overall track record for players of Holmgren’s size is not great: Kristaps Porzingis, Jonathan Isaac, and Bol Bol have each seen their stock as “unicorns” drop because of consistent injury problems early in their careers. 

A North Star for Holmgren to follow would be Giannis Antetokounmpo, who weighed 190 pounds when he was drafted and went on to became a two-time MVP, as well as the most physically dominant player in the league.

The Docs’ second medical concern for Holmgren is that he could be curbed by a connective tissue disorder or heart problems associated with his height and weight. Heart disorders and size have a direct medical correlation and Holmgren certainly fits into the danger zone.

According to a recent report from Basketball News’ Matt Babcock, Holmgren's agent has withheld medical info from some teams and he did not undergo the NBA’s heart screening. 

This maneuver may be an attempt by his agents to manipulate the draft process to get Holmgren to the Thunder, who have been reported as his desired destination, but it raises even more questions about his health. 

It will be essential for Holmgren to undergo a full health screening and get a clean bill of health, and if his heart exams show no issues, his SIC score would lift into the low-80s. 

As it stands, Holmgren is the riskiest of the consensus top-three prospects: himself, Jabari Smith Jr. and Paolo Banchero.

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