Get to Know: Richaun Holmes
Beyond the athletic alley-oop finishes and forceful blocks that are staples of his highlight reels, Richaun Holmes epitomizes everything the Kings need in a backup center: contagious energy, hustle-based effort and efficient scoring.
On a Sacramento team that prioritizes moving the ball and upping the pace, the constantly-moving big man will rarely interrupt the flow of the offense.
His rim-rattling finishes most often come in the pick-and-roll – a focal point of his game – where No. 22 ranked in the 88th percentile with 1.23 points per possession as a roll man last season, according to Synergy Sports. Among 31 players with at least 150 opportunities, he was the sixth-most efficient scorer.
Staying active without the ball, roughly one-fifth of his offense came on cuts to the rim, where his 1.35 PPP put him in the 66th percentile. Another tenth came as a result of running the floor on the break; Holmes garnered 1.60 PPP on 42 transition possessions, good enough to slot him in the 98th percentile.
Finishing around the basket with a quick turnaround hook shot, the Bowling Green alum showed little trouble scoring when swarmed by defenders, connecting on 62.8 percent in tight coverage (two to four feet), per NBA.com. He also consistently earned trips to the charity stripe, drawing a foul on nearly half of his field goal attempts, and knocked down free throws at a solid 73.1-percent clip.
Holmes, who averaged 17.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per 36 minutes, graded in the 90th percentile among bigs in points per shot attempt (1.29) last season, according to Cleaning the Glass, and has placed above the 80th percentile in effective field goal percentage in each of his last three years.
A springy, athletic presence underneath the basket, Holmes would’ve led the Kings in offensive rebounding rate last season (10.6), while, in part thanks to his emphatic put-back dunks, his 3.6 second-chance points per 36 minutes would’ve put him second on the team, behind only Marvin Bagley III (4.9).
The fifth-year center’s box scores show only 0.9 assists per game, but he has contributed to the points column by setting effective screens, both on and off the ball. He ranked sixth in screen assists per 36 minutes (6.4) among players with 50 or more games, leading to 14.4 points scored by his teammates.
Although he didn’t attempt a single three-pointer in 2018-19 – and took only a dozen shots outside of the paint – two years ago, the Illinois native knocked down 27-off-77 (35.1 percent) from behind the arc, indicating he has the range to stretch the floor and become a high screen-and-roll threat.
During that season, Holmes drained 15-of-38 threes (39.5 percent) from above the break, often getting clean looks in transition and halfcourt sets. If he reintroduces that dimension into his game – a subject he addressed during his exit interview in Phoenix – he’d stand to see plenty of wide-open opportunities when sharing the floor with Sacramento’s polished outside shooters.
Holmes’ high motor extends to the opposite side of the floor, where he excels at protecting the paint and has all the tools to become an upper-echelon defender.
His shot-blocking prowess (3.4-percent block rate) put him in the 93rd percentile at his position, per Cleaning the Glass, while his quick hands contributed to an excellent steal rate (1.5; 80th). Among players with at least 1,000 minutes on the season, the long-armed center finished ninth in swats per 36 minutes (2.4), as well as 13th in contested two-pointers (16.5), according to NBA.com.
Opponents shot 7.2 percent worse when defended by Holmes at the rim, while the Suns’ defense allowed 5.7 fewer points per 100 possessions when he was on the floor; both differentials would’ve led the Kings last season.
— Richaun Holmes (@Rich_Holmes22) July 1, 2019
His defensive rebounding rate (17.4) was right around the League average, but 38 percent of his boards were contested; that’s three-points higher than any Kings regular last season.
It’s also notable that two of his best all-around games in 2018-19 came against the Lakers: 15 points, four blocks and three steals on Dec. 2, 2018, followed by 12 points, 10 rebounds and another four rejections on Jan. 27.
A rim-protecting and rim-running big man, Holmes is a valuable off-the-bench spark for the Kings, who’ll become a Sacramento fan favorite from the moment he throws down a lob from De’Aaron Fox or sends an opponent’s shot attempt into the third row.