Nearly two months ago, I wrote a piece analyzing Jonathan Holmes as a prospective NBA-caliber talent and whether he fit the bill after four seasons as a Texas Longhorn. At the time, Holmes was a marginal draft prospect in general, projected to end up on the outside looking in as Draft Express’s No. 63 overall prospect. There was no question Holmes would need to capitalize on his opportunities at the NBA Draft Combine and during pre-draft workouts with individual teams. Evidently, that’s exactly what he’s done as the former Longhorns’ stock has continued to rise over the past few weeks, peaking with a first round appearance at No. 30 to the Golden State Warriors in Draft Express’ latest mock draft. Of course, mocks are purely speculation and projection, but to climb 33 spots in a matter of weeks is impressiveness nonetheless, and begs the question of whether or not Holmes has solidified his place in the NBA Draft with less than a week to go before franchises handpick the next crop of professional athletes.
Holmes future as an NBA talent is widely to be viewed as a stretch forward, with the ability to play down low and use his quickness and skill set as an advantage on big men, while also being able to stretch things out to the three point line and knock down shots and space the floor – an increasingly valuable part of NBA offenses. The role I’m speaking to would compare to the one Draymond Green plays for the newly crowned NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. Green also happens to be the guy many have compared Holmes’ game and potential to, and Holmes himself echoed those sentiments in an interview with Hoops Hype.
"But the type of player I try to model my game after is someone like Draymond Green. A guy who does a little bit of everything – he can play the three, he can play the four, he can lead the fast break, make plays, be the hard-nose guy."
It’s quite possible that Green’s performance in the NBA Playoffs and Finals may have provided a little spike in Holmes draft stock, considering he’s Holmes closest NBA comparison, but it’s for certain that pre-draft workouts and worked wonders for Holmes’ draft hopes.
To this point, I have knowledge of Holmes working out for the Phoenix Suns, Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies and the Detroit Pistons. Holmes is of the belief that his draft range is between Nos. 20-45, making him a late first round to mid second round target. Of the 26 picks in that range, the aforementioned teams Holmes has worked out for posses 17 of those picks, making Holmes’ chances of hearing his name called in that range pretty close to a reality.
Holmes has even begun to cancel workouts with teams selecting in the second round, including the Charlotte Hornets, which could be an indication of Holmes being given some reassurance that he’ll be drafted if he’s still on the board at a certain point.
If Holmes were to have been given any assurance or guarantee from a franchise that they’ll draft him if he’s on the board, the teams two watch for are the Sixers, Celtics and Pistons. Philly has the 35th and 37th picks and have a roster that lacks interior depth with tweeners all over, while also being a team that could provide the flexibility and patience Holmes needs transitioning to the NBA. Boston possesses picks 28, 33 and 45, which is right in the range Holmes is now expected to hear his name called. And then there’s Detroit, who would appear to be the most likely candidate to have potentially given Holmes a draft guarantee, if there is one.
In his workout for the Pistons, Holmes was widely considered to be the standout of the group workout and in his post-workout interview; Holmes wasn’t shy about expressing his interest in Detroit and potentially playing there.
Of course, there’s absolutely no telling what may actually happen at the Barclays Center on June 25. Mock drafts are never spot-on and once that ball gets rolling on draft night and targets start flying off the board, team’s plans change and other avenues are taken. Although it’s still unlikely Holmes does actually become a first round selection – which would give Texas two in 2015 along with Myles Turner – there’s much more certainty now surrounding Holmes and the likelihood of a franchise expending a draft pick on him than there was at the conclusion of his senior season.