NEW YORK — Chet Holmgren wore a thick, gold chain with two dice dangling from it. The dice showed three and four, representing the No. 34 he wore at Gonzaga.
But the dice, which Holmgren flashed against his black suit, had a second meaning.
“I’m big on betting on myself,” Holmgren told The Oklahoman.
On Thursday night, the Thunder bet on Holmgren.
Oklahoma City selected the 7-foot center with the No. 2 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Holmgren became the highest draft pick in Thunder history. He’s the franchise’s first No. 2 pick since Kevin Durant was drafted by the SuperSonics 15 years ago.
Chet Holmgren is Thunder's highest NBA Draft pick ever
Holmgren will step in as the Thunder’s center of the future, a center that could develop into a franchise-changing force.
The Magic pulled off a draft stunner, taking Duke's Paolo Banchero first overall instead of Auburn's Jabari Smith, long the presumptive choice to go No. 1. Smith fell to No. 3 overall to the Rockets.
Holmgren is an incomparable prospect given his combination of size and skills, which seem well-suited for the modern NBA.
The 20-year-old from Minneapolis is listed at 7-feet and 195 pounds, and yet he’s comfortable as a ball handler and perimeter shooter. Defensively, Holmgren is an elite shot blocker who projects as an All-Defensive player at his peak.
The constant knock against Holmgren is his incredibly thin frame — which is fair to question given the physicality of the NBA — but it hasn’t stopped Holmgren from dominating at every level.
Holmgren won four Minnesota state titles at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, where he was the No. 1 ranked high school prospect in the 2021 recruiting class. Holmgren committed to Gonzaga, where he became a second team AP All-American.
Chet Holmgren also is Gonzaga's highest NBA Draft pick ever
Holmgren averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game in his freshman season. He shot 61% from the field, including 39% from 3-point range. He had the best 2-point percentage (74%) in college basketball. Holmgren’s 117 blocks ranked fourth in the NCAA.
Holmgren is the highest draft pick in Gonzaga history. He joins former Bulldogs Adam Morrison (No. 3, 2006), Jalen Suggs (No. 5, 2021), Rui Hachimura (No. 9, 2019) and Zach Collins (No. 10, 2017) as top-ten selections from Gonzaga.
Holmgren’s dad, Dave Holmgren, played college basketball at Minnesota from 1984-88.
Holmgren will be the first Chet to play in the NBA since hall of famer Chet “The Jet” Walker, a seven-time All-Star who played for the 76ers and Bulls. Walker retired in 1975.
With Holmgren in place alongside promising young guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, the Thunder theoretically has its Big Three of the future. It’s far too early, however, to know if Holmgren will succeed in the NBA, and if Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey will continue to take steps forward in their development.
Last season, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Isaiah Roby and Derrick Favors were the Thunder’s regular starters at center. Mike Muscala, a Minnesotan like Holmgren, came off the bench.
OKC’s center carousel should stop with Holmgren’s arrival.
Chet Holmgren at a glance
Born: May 1, 2002
Height/weight: 7-foot-0, 190 pounds
Drafted: First round, No. 2 overall by OKC Thunder
2022 NBA Draft: First-round picks
1. Orlando, Paolo Banchero, f, Duke.
2. Oklahoma City, Chet Holmgren, c, Gonzaga.
3. Houston, Jabari Smith Jr., f, Auburn.
4. Sacramento, Keegan Murray, f, Iowa.
5. Detroit, Jaden Ivey, g, Purdue.
6. Indiana, Bennedict Mathurin, f, Arizona.
7. Portland, Shaedon Sharpe, g, Kentucky.
8. New Orleans (from Los Angeles Lakers), Dyson Daniels, g, G-League Ignite.
9. San Antonio, Jeremy Sochan, f, Baylor.
10. Washington, Johnny Davis, g, Wisconsin.
11. a-New York, Ousemane Dieng, f, New Zealand (Australia).
12. Oklahoma City (from LA Clippers), Jalen Williams, g, Santa Clara.
13. b-Charlotte, Jalen Duren, C, Memphis.
14. Cleveland, Ochai Agbaji, g, Kansas.
15. Charlotte (from New Orleans), Mark Williams, c, Duke.
16. Atlanta, AJ Griffin, f, Duke.
17. Houston (from Brooklyn), Tari Eason, f, LSU.
18. Chicago, Dalen Terry, g, Arizona.
19. c-Minnesota, Jake LaRavia, f, Wake Forest.
20. San Antonio (from Toronto), Malaki Branham, g, Ohio State.
21. Denver, Christian Braun, g, Kansas.
22. d-Memphis (from Utah), Walker Kessler, c, Auburn.
23. e-Philadelphia, David Roddy, f, Colorado State.
24. Milwaukee, MarJon Beauchamp, g, G-League Ignite.
25. San Antonio (from Boston), Blake Wesley, g, Notre Dame.
26. f-Houston (from Dallas), Wendell Moore Jr., f, Duke.
27. Miami, Nikola Jovic, f, Mega (Serbia)
28. Golden State, Patrick Baldwin Jr., f, Milwaukee.
29. Memphis, TyTy Washington Jr., g, Kentucky.
30. g-Oklahoma City (from Phoenix), Peyton Watson, f, UCLA.
2022 NBA Draft: Second-round picks
31. Indiana (from Houston via Cleveland), Andrew Nembhard, g, Gonzaga.
32. Orlando, Caleb Houstan, f, Michigan.
33. Toronto (from Detroit via San Antonio, Washington and Chicago), Christian Koloko, f, Arizona.
34. Oklahoma City, Jaylin Williams, f, Arkansas.
35. Los Angeles Lakers (from Orlando via Indiana and Milwaukee), Max Christie, g, Michigan State.
36. Portland, Gabriele Procida, g, Fortitudo Bologna (Italy).
37. Sacramento, Jaden Hardy, g, G-League Ignite.
38. h-San Antonio (from Los Angeles Lakers via Chicago and Washington), Kennedy Chandler, g, Tennessee.
39. Cleveland (from San Antonio via Utah), Khalifa Diop, c, Gran Canaria (Spain).
40. i-Minnesota (from Washington via Cleveland), Bryce McGowens, g, Nebraska.
41. New Orleans, E.J. Liddell, f, Ohio State.
42. New York, Trevor Keels, f, Duke.
43. LA Clippers, Moussa Diabate, f, Michigan.
44. Atlanta, Ryan Rollins, g, Toledo.
45. Charlotte, Josh Minott, f, Memphis.
46. j-Detroit (from Brooklyn), Ismael Kamagate, c, Paris (France).
47. Memphis (from Cleveland via New Orleans and Atlanta), Vince Williams Jr., VCU.
48. k-Minnesota, Kendall Brown, f, Baylor.
49. Sacramento (from Chicago via Memphis and Detroit), Isaiah Mobley, f, USC.
50. Minnesota (from Denver via Philadelphia), Matteo Spagnolo, g, Cremona (Italy).
51. l-Golden State (from Toronto via Philadelphia), Tyrese Martin, f, UConn.
52. New Orleans (from Utah), Karlo Matkovic, c, Mega (Serbia).
53. Boston, JD Davison, g, Alabama.
Miami (from Philadelphia via Denver; forfeited by Miami)
54. Washington (from Dallas), Yannick Nzosa, c, Unicaja (Spain).
55. Golden State, Gui Santos, f, Minas (Brazil).
56. Cleveland (from Miami via Indiana), Luke Travers, g, Perth (Australia).
57. Portland (from Memphis via Utah), Jabari Walker, f, Colorado.
58. Indiana (from Phoenix), Hugo Besson, g, New Zealand (Australia).
a-Oklahoma City from New York.
b-Detroit from Charlotte.
c-Memphis from Minnesota.
d-Minnesota from Memphis.
e-Memphis from Philadelphia.
f-Dallas from Houston.
g-Denver from Oklahoma City.
h-Memphis from San Antonio.
i-Charlotte from Minnesota.
j-Denver from Detroit.
k-Indiana from Minnesota.
l-Atlanta from Golden State.
NBA Draft 2022: Taking a look at each of the 58 picks and first-round analysis
NBA Draft preview guide for OKC Thunder
Thunder NBA Draft guide: Everything to know before OKC picks
Tramel's ScissorTales: Thunder needs 3-point shooting; here's how NBA Draft prospects fare
Tramel's ScissorTales: What trading up to the No. 4 pick would cost the Thunder
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OKC Thunder selects Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren at No. 2 in 2022 NBA Draft