With the NBA draft on the horizon, the hype for top prospects like Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr. is at an all-time high. ESPN’s Jay Bilas recently compared Holmgren and Smith to superstars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant.
For Holmgren, the road to the draft has not been easy, as he has been heavily scrutinized throughout the process. While he has remained a contender for the No. 1 pick, his body has many analysts questioning his ability.
Bilas believes Holmgren is similar to a young Antetokounmpo, when he came into the league. If teams can get past his current physical build, Holmgren could be special.
“Holmgren is kind of a baby Giannis with the way he plays,” Bilas said. “You have to sort of get over his body because you don’t see a lot of his body style in the NBA. At least you haven’t traditionally, but Holmgren is the real deal.”
Comparing Holmgren to Antetokounmpo is an exciting approach by Bilas, but it is not as crazy as it may sound.
Coming into the NBA, Giannis was not the “Greek Freak” that people view him as today. As a rookie, he was lanky. Nine seasons later, he’s put on so much muscle.
While Holmgren looks skinner because he is taller and longer, the idea is the same. If Holmgren can put on the type of muscle that Antetokounmpo put on, he may become a “freak” himself.
Still, Bilas believes that Smith should be the No. 1 pick on Thursday night.
“I think it’s a difficult decision,” Bilas said. “If it were mine, I would take Jabari Smith, but only by a little bit. It’s a hard one.”
While Holmgren has the potential to be the next Giannis, Jay Bilas believes that Smith is closer to being the next Kevin Durant.
Jay Bilas beleives Jabari Smith is like Kevin Durant as Chet Holmgren is like a baby Giannis Antetokounmpo
While the idea of Holmgren being a baby Antetokounmpo could make him the No. 1 pick, Smith’s comparison is interesting, too. Bilas believes Smith’s shooting and body could make him the next Kevin Durant.
“With Jabari Smith, you have somebody who compares a little bit to Kevin Durant,” Bilas said. “With his ability to shoot the ball. He’s a big-time offensive player, and he can defend multiple positions. He can block shots. He’s not a great offensive rebounder, but as a defensive rebounder, he’s productive. I think he’s the No. 1 pick.”
Smith feels good about being compared to Durant.
While neither Smith nor Holmgren may live up to their comparisons, the idea explains why the competition for the top pick is so stiff.
Q. Who will go first in the NBA draft?