SEATTLE SPORTS PIT

Chet Holmgren taken No. 2 by OKC; highest Zags pick in NBA Draft

Jun 23, 2022, 6:08 PM | Updated: 6:12 pm

              Chet Holmgren, center, hugs family and friends after being selected second overall in the NBA basketball draft by the Oklahoma Thunder, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
            
              Chet Holmgren, right, is congratulated by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected second overall in the NBA basketball draft by the Oklahoma Thunder, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
            
              NBA draft prospects pose for a photo before the start of the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder chose Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.

Seattle native Paolo Banchero goes No. 1 in NBA Draft to Magic

Holmgren, a versatile 7-footer from Minneapolis, was a second-team Associated Press All-American in his only college season. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds and ranked fourth nationally with 3.7 blocks per game for the Zags. He shot 61% from 3-point range and 39% from 3-point range last season — the kind of efficiency that could help a Thunder team that ranked last in the league in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and scoring last season.

Holmgren becomes the highest draft pick ever out of Gonzaga, passing Adam Morrison (No. 3 overall to Charlotte in 2006) and his high school teammate Jalen Suggs (No. 5 to Orlando last year).

His skill could help him be effective as he works to add to his slender 195-pound frame.

He will join a young core that includes Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Lu Dort, Darius Bazley and Tre Mann. Alexander averaged 24.5 points last season.

Giddey, last year’s No. 6 overall pick, was a second-team All-Rookie selection last season. Dort is one of the league’s best defensive players when healthy. Bazley is an athletic wing player and Mann was an explosive scorer off the bench. Gilgeous-Alexander, the oldest player in that group, is just short of his 24th birthday.

The Thunder hope Holmgren eventually can help them regain some of the glory from the Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook era. The Thunder went to the Western Conference Finals four times with that duo and the NBA Finals once. The Thunder have not won a playoff series since Durant left and have missed the playoffs the past two seasons. They went 24-58 last season.

The franchise has had success early in drafts in the past, selecting Durant No. 2 overall in 2007, Westbrook No. 4 overall in 2008 and James Harden No. 3 in 2009.

NBA Draft picks

Seattle Sports Pit

Paul Silas...
The Associated Press

Paul Silas, 3-time NBA champion including with Sonics, dies at 79

Paul Silas, a member of three NBA championship teams as a player including the 1978-79 Seattle Sonics, has died. at the age of 79
2 months ago
XFL Seattle Dragons...
Brent Stecker

Seattle Sea Dragons reveal uniforms for 2023 XFL relaunch

The relaunch of the XFL got a little bit more real with the reveal of the uniforms for all eight teams, including the Seattle Sea Dragons.
2 months ago
World Cup...
The Associated Press

US knocked out of World Cup after 3-1 loss to the Netherlands

The Netherlands eliminated the United States from the World Cup with a 3-1 victory Saturday that advanced the Dutch to the quarterfinals.
2 months ago
World Cup US Iran...
The Associated Press

Pulisic goal advances US in World Cup with 1-0 win over Iran

Christian Pulisic scored while crashing headfirst into the goalkeeper in the 38th minute and the United States advanced to the knockout round of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Iran.
2 months ago
World Cup US England...
The Associated Press

US frustrates England again at a World Cup in 0-0 draw

The United States frustrated England in a 0-0 draw on Friday in the latest occasion in which the Americans have defied the odds against the Three Lions.
2 months ago
Wales' Gareth Bale celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the World Cup, group B s...
The Associated Press

Wales converts PK, US settles for 1-1 draw in World Cup opener

Gareth Bale converted a penalty kick in the 82nd minute to offset Tim Weah's first-half goal and give Wales a 1-1 draw with the US in a World opener.
2 months ago
Chet Holmgren taken No. 2 by OKC; highest Zags pick in NBA Draft