When Philadelphia selected Richaun Holmes 37th overall last June, fans wished he had been a guard. After all the 76ers already had Dario Saric, Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. Philadelphia even drafted a big man, who they then traded to the New York Knicks, two picks before Holmes.
Like most rookies, specifically second-round rookies, his minutes have been inconsistent. He missed a handful of games early with a hamstring injury. He’s had games where he plays two or six minutes, and then others where he plays 20 or 27 minutes. Despite his inconsistent minutes, Holmes has contributed.
In 34 games, Holmes has scored double figures six times and blocked at least one shot in 17. His PER (17.81) ranks above league average, and according to Basketball-Reference.com Holmes joins Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Sacramento’s Willie Cauley-Stein as rookies who’ve played at least 480 minutes while posting an offensive rating above 115.
His impact has been up and down. He’s shooting 19 percent from three and he’s not a very good free throw shooter yet, but Holmes has a feel for the game. He understands when to crash for offensive rebounds. He’s very good at finishing around the rim. Holmes shoots a Sixer high 75. 3 percent from the restricted area. Out of every player in the league who has attempted more than 85 shots in the restricted area, only Andrew Bogut and Hassan Whiteside shoot a higher percentage than Holmes. It’s a small sample size for Holmes since he averages 14 minutes a game, but it’s worth noting his efficiency inside.
Holmes has a knack for operating around the rim on offense, but he’s struggled thus far around the rim on defense. Holmes should eventually become a solid shot blocker, but his defensive rebounding has been a downside to his game. Holmes has a 10.9 defensive rebounding percentage, which ranks 12th on the 76ers. Wings Hollis Thompson and Jerami Grant rebound at a higher percentage on defense. His offensive rebounding percentage, however, tops all 76ers.
76er general manager Sam Hinkie has done some good and bad during his tenure. It’s useless to document the many, many transactions he’s made. Drafting Holmes was definitely a good move. Only Noel has more win shares than Holmes. Holmes might not make a lasting impact in Philadelphia. Who really knows who will be here in the future with the log-jam at power forward and center, but Holmes has a long career ahead of him in the NBA. Philly uses him rather evenly at center or power forward. If Holmes, who hit 41.9 percent from deep his last year in college, develops a consistent outside shot, he’ll be a match-up nightmare at center.
Oh, and Holmes can dunk.
(Vines credit to Michael K-B and Hangtime YouTube to NBA TV)
The featured image comes from the AP