Center of Attention
The NBA Draft on Thursday has a stacked group of future stars and one of the most attractive players is a center.
Chet Holmgren is expected to be one of the first two picks according to the NBA odds and the Gonzaga Bulldogs star could end up in Oklahoma City or Orlando.
Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga)
There is talk that Chet Holmgren could be taken first overall by Orlando, but we think the Magic will take forward Jabari Smith Jr. for more than one reason.
However, that leaves Holmgren in Oklahoma City and that’s a good place to be for the future of the Thunder. They have lacked a high-quality center over the last few years, and although Steven Adams did his job, he wasn’t the most exciting player.
There has been a steady flow of money with the sportsbook for the Gonzaga Bulldog to be selected second. He is +170 to be selected behind probable No. 1 pick Smith Jr.
Holmgren would be a welcome addition to any of the NBA teams and we love the combination of him and Josh Giddey, last year’s first-round selection.
“I feel like I could fit in with almost anybody. But especially a point guard like Josh Giddey … he would make life easy for me. With Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander), he doesn’t need any help from anybody. He’s a hell of a player,” Holmgren said.
Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder (No. 2 Overall)
Jalen Duren (Memphis)
There is plenty of hype around Jalen Duren, who is slightly shorter than the other top centers, but he comes in at 250 pounds.
The Memphis big man is still in the market to be taken first at +30000 with betting online markets, but he’s likely to sneak into the top 10.
He’s an 18-year-old five-star recruit, who was named American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year. With an average of 12 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.1 block per game, Duren will be an asset to any NBA team.
Duren has drawn comparisons to the likes of Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat, so he’s a versatile center that could grow as his career progresses.
We expected Duren to be picked around the ninth or 10th spot, which could land him in San Antonio or Washington. He’s currently even money to be picked in the top 10 and we think he’s a good fit with the Washington Wizards.
Pick: Washington Wizards (No. 10 Overall)
Mark Williams (Duke)
Bookmakers have Mark Williams going around the 14th spot, which would see him head to Cleveland Cavaliers at 14th or Charlotte at No. 15.
The Duke center had two years at college and he’s the tallest center in the NBA Draft at 7-foot-2. That could make a huge difference and he’s also one of the heaviest, so he has the size advantage.
In 39 games last season, Williams averaged 11.2 points and 7.4 rebounds. It’s a solid stat line and we’re not surprised by the interest in the 20-year-old.
Williams has some questions about where he will end up but knows he’ll enjoy the experience.
“I think it’s just the uncertainty about where I’m going to be,” Williams told The New York Times. “When I get there, got to find somewhere to live. I got to find a car. I’m going to have new teammates, so just building a relationship with them, coaches. Just not knowing what’s going to happen. I feel like I embrace the uncertainty. It’s not like I’m nervous, but I’d say that’s the biggest thing.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen.”
NBA Draft odds have Williams at -140 to be selected as the 14th pick or under.
Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers (No. 14 Overall)