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Is Richaun Holmes one of the NBA’s most underappreciated players?

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The Sacramento Kings found a diamond in the rough during the summer of 2019. Then-general manager Vlade Divac signed four-year pro Richaun Holmes to a two-year deal worth $10 million.

Holmes spent the first three seasons of his career with the Philadelphia 76ers before being traded to the Phoenix Suns prior to the 2018-19 campaign. Holmes averaged 7.7 points and 4.4 rebounds over his first four years in the league.

Those numbers have jumped considerably since signed with the Kings. The 27-year-old is putting up 12.6 points and 8.0 rebounds during his stint in Sacramento. Holmes has given head coach Luke Walton some stability at the center position and his contributions aren’t going unnoticed.,

Dan Favale of Bleacher Report ranked the 10 most underappreciated players in the NBA and has Holmes at the top of his list.

“Richaun Holmes doesn’t even seem like he’s totally appreciated by his own team. (Let him shoot threes, Sacramento!) That his minutes have dropped ever so slightly is a product of the Kings’ crowded front line, his own foul trouble and probably a smidgen more Hassan Whiteside than needed.

Still, Holmes is critical to the best versions of Sacramento. If floor-spacing 5s are the most valuable offensive bigs, he’s the next best thing. He has great pick-and-roll chemistry with the guards and a nifty floater he uses liberally. Few players work as hard or efficiently on the offensive glass.”

The Kings are a much better team with Holmes on the floor. Here are the team’s stats with Holmes both in the game and on the bench (per NBA.com).

Holmes on court: 115.9 offensive rating, 117.3 defensive rating, -1.4 net rating.

Holmes on bench: 100.3 offensive rating, 121.1 defensive rating, -20.8 net rating.

Sacramento is 19.4 points better per 100 possessions with Holmes on the floor. Walton plays the big man 30.2 minutes per game, but that could improve if Holmes did a better job of watching his fouls. He leads the league with 4.1 fouls per contest.

No one will mistake Holmes for being Dikembe Mutombo as a rim protector, but he does an excellent job staying active on the defensive end.

Offensively, Holmes is incredibly efficient. His 68.1 field goal percentage is fourth-best in the NBA out of any player who has suited up in more than 10 games this season. Holmes has also shown some range this season, connecting on 80 percent of his attempts from between 10-and-16 feet.

If he continues to put up these kinds of numbers, Holmes will be in line for a significant extension this offseason. It will be interesting to see what general manager Monte McNair elects to do with his starting center.


On to some links:

Tyrese Haliburton has proven to be one of the biggest steals of the 2020 NBA Draft. The Ringer’s Bill Simmons is impressed with the rookie and is confident he will play in multiple All-Star games. (Kings.com)

Is Haliburton a good fit next to De’Aaron Fox? The Ringer broke down that question and more regarding Haliburton’s future. (Ringer NBA University podcast)

Former King Omri Casspi is finding a life after basketball. Casspi teamed up with another former NBA player to invest in a new cannabis company. (Jason Jones of The Athletic).