Chet Holmgren vs Paolo Banchero: Who’s the better prospect?

Paolo Banchero
Apr 2, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Sweat flies through the air as Duke Blue Devils forward Paolo Banchero (5) saves a ball from going out of bounds against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the second half during the 2022 NCAA men's basketball tournament Final Four semifinals at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Chet Holmgren vs Paolo Banchero has been the subject of debate since before the start of the last college basketball season. They went back and forth to be the first-overall pick and figured to be the undisputed top NBA Draft prospects 2022 until Jabari Smith entered the picture.

Chet Holmgren vs Paolo Banchero comparison

But with Smith now likely becoming the first pick of the draft, the next spot still seems up for grabs. Teams could go either way with the guy they feel is the best fit for their roster or gfocus exclusively on talent and upside to get the best player available.

The 2022 NBA Draft class features unique players. But as such, and as per usual, there’s always the risk that they’ll end up becoming huge busts as well. There are way too many boom-or-bust prospects and GMs on the hot seat right now.

But even despite that, teams would be dumb to pass on any of these guys. Even if they don’t wind up being as good as they expect, the raw talent, upside, and physical tools are too enticing to ignore. That’s the beauty of the Chet vs Banchero debate.

Both players have Hall of Fame potential but they also come with big red flags over their heads. Drafting is never an exact science, so teams will have to dig deep into every single piece of evidence they have to choose between these two. Here, we’ll share our thoughts on both and you guys decide at home who’d you take if you were a GM.

Banchero is an offensive juggernaut

Paolo Banchero does absolutely everything well on the offensive end of the floor. Despite being a 6’10” PF/C, he might be the best passer in his class and could be a Grant Hill/LeBron James-style point forward at the next level thanks to his elite basketball IQ.

Banchero can drive, finish with both hands, score efficiently from all three levels, and is outstanding at creating separation to get his shot. He has sweet handles and a deep bag of tricks that never ceases to amaze, especially for a guy his size.

He can attack off the bounce and has nice footwork to shake off his defenders in the restricted area. The former Duke star can operate well under pressure and his passing is a big plus considering how often he saw double teams. He’s a willing passer who knows how to make his teammates better.


On the downside, Banchero is a subpar defender at best. Even when the effort is there— which doesn’t happen very often— the lateral quickness isn’t, and neither is the instinct. He’s often caught off guard and struggles to stay in front of his man, both on and off the ball.

Holmgren has untapped potential and even bigger risks

There’s no true Chet Holmgren comparison. I guess we could say he’s a mix of Kristaps Porzingis with Arvydas Sabonis, Manute Bol, and a little of Kevin Durant. That could all be true or it could be a huge reach, depending on where you stand.

Holmgren is the best rim protector in his class and it’s not close at all. He averaged over four blocks per game and knows how to make the most of his length to alter shots and make his presence felt all over the defensive end of the floor, even on the perimeter. He recovers greatly against quicker players as well.

Chet Holmgren is also a solid and willing passer. He’s got great court vision for a guy his size and won’t hesitate to initiate the offense once he grabs a defensive rebound. Add elite shooting skills from all three levels and you have yourself a special player.

But as good as he is, Holmgren is just 195 pounds and he may never be able to bulk up. That’s a huge defensive concern when he meets more physical, stronger, bigger opponents in the NBA. How will he be able to guard Joel Embiid or even a washed-out Dwight Howard with that frame?

Holmgren or Banchero: Who’s better?

On the surface, Paolo Banchero seems like the ultimate boom-or-bust prospect. You can see that by the constant Paolo Banchero comparison to Julius Randle, who’s a borderline All-Star who’s never going to be a factor on the defensive end of the floor. But then again, there’s a lot to like about his offensive game.

Holmgren, on the other hand, has the skill set to become a generational player and one of the best to ever do it. But will his body hold up and endure the physical beating of being an NBA player? Will he ever be able to get a stop against NBA big men in the post? His biggest trait could also be a liability he may never get past.

In terms of fit, both players are tailor-made for today’s position-less basketball. Holmgren could play at the three or the four if a team has a stronger, more physical guy to play at the five. They could benefit from his shooting, passing, and long arms to guard the perimeter.

Banchero could join the big list of elite scorers who couldn’t get a stop to save their life. Although the history has shown that defense is often a matter of motivation and even the worst defenders can become average given enough time and preparation.

So, who would you rather have?

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