Undoubtedly the biggest free agency move for the Sacramento Kings front office this summer was the retention of center Richaun Holmes on a four-year, $55 million contract.
Holmes had an opportunity to bloom in Sacramento, making his way from the #TrustTheProcess Sixers in 2015, to the G League, to the Phoenix Suns for a season and finally to the 916 at the start of the 2019 season.
This last season in Sacramento, Holmes saw career highs in points per game (14.2) and boards per game (8.3). Holmes was arguably the most consistent player on the Kings all season long.
Best-case: Holmes continues to develop as a defensive juggernaut.
Though a dismal year in terms of defense for the team at large, Holmes was a stabilizing defensive presence in the front court. Per InStat, Holmes led the league in defenders who held their opponents to the lowest field goal percentage in isolation possessions for the 2020-21 season at 27.3%.
With the addition of Davion Mitchell, I think that Sacramento has real potential to have a strong defensive identity, which would be a big step up from last season.
At 27 years old, now is the time for Holmes is maximize on his potential. He was able to produce 21 double-doubles this past season through 61 games played. If that number could go from one third to one half, I would be pleased with Holmes’ development.
Worst-case: Holmes plateaus or doesn’t continue with his upward trajectory.
Although I don’t think this is going to be the case, it’s easy to look at his early career and see where there was lack of success and development for the big man. Sacramento went from a scarcity of centers to a glut of options at the five position. Holmes is obviously the Kings’ starting man, but I would hate to see his development get lost in trying to keep other players involved in the rotation.
There were also nights in the past two seasons where foul trouble became a heavy issue and Holmes saw the bench early. In the coming season, I would love to see Holmes be able to navigate the whistles while also producing effectively.
Overall, it’s a huge win for both Sacramento and Holmes that he’s returned to the roster. I’m excited to see the work he’s put in during the summer, and what he can continue to bring to a growing Sacramento group.