30Q | Articles

30Q: What is Richaun Holmes’ impact this season?

Can Holmes thrive off the bench and play spot minutes with Domantas Sabonis?

While the Sacramento Kings inked Richaun Holmes to a four-year extension just last summer, there are a lot of questions surrounding Holmes’ future with the squad entering training camp. While his per-36 minutes statistics for scoring, rebounding, and shot efficiencies  in 2021-22 all remained close to his stats from his first two seasons in Sacramento, he battled through multiple freak injuries and personal problems, missed almost half of the season, and saw his minutes reduced when he did play. The Kings also traded for Domantas Sabonis before the trade deadline, securing their center of the future and potentially signaling the end of Holmes’ tenure in Sacramento.

But the offseason has come and mostly gone, and Holmes remains a King; he may seem an odd man out with Sabonis now in town, but there’s still opportunity for Holmes to earn a role and help the Kings battle for a playoff birth.

Since Holmes remained on the Kings after the February trade deadline, I’ve argued that the Kings should run some lineups with both Sabonis and Holmes. There are some legitimate offensive concerns in terms of spacing—neither of them has shown consistent, multi-seasonal flashes of deep shooting—and I don’t think Mike Brown should attempt to put them both in the starting lineup (my vote is De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, Keegan Murray, Harrison Barnes, and Sabonis). But over a full season, I expect there will be plenty of moments where the Kings could use more size and muscle at the 4 spot than Barnes or Murray could provide. And to mitigate spacing issues, the Kings could run lineups where Sabonis runs the offense and Brown plays some combination of Kuerter, Malik Monk, Terence Davis, Murray, and Barnes around Sabonis/Holmes to ensure deep shooters are always on the court. The continued focus on adding shooters to the roster gives Brown a ton of lineup options.

If Holmes can rekindle the energy and success from his 2020-21 season, he’d be the Kings best bench big man, and there are reasons he and Sabonis could play well together in spot lineups. Imagine Holmes moving off the ball with Domas controlling the ball in the high post. Unlike Sabonis’ former teammate Myles Turner (a pairing that didn’t work for multiple reasons), Holmes has always shown a willingness and ability to thrive as a secondary scoring threat. And on defense, while Holmes has always been a solid rim protector for an undersized center, I think his ability to guard perimeter players is a truly underrated part of his game.

Of course, there’s a chance that Holmes’ future isn’t in Sacramento; if he has a bounce-back start to the season and succeeds in his new role, teams may check on the asking price for Richaun. He has three years left on that four-year, $46.5 million dollar contract, which could give some GMs pause but doesn’t seem high enough to end all discussions. But whether or not Richaun is destined for many more seasons in Sacramento, it would mostly be great to see him excel to start the new season, whatever his new role is. The Sacramento Kings are better and are more enjoyable to watch when Richaun Holmes is thriving.

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RikSmits
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September 20, 2022 10:56 am

Limited, I fear.

I like him as a player, but he doesn’t seem to fit this roster very well.

Last edited 12 days ago by RikSmits
Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 20, 2022 11:46 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Agreed. Not to mention he is a very expensive backup center making starting center type of money who will likely average less than 20MPG.

Thankfully, Sabonis is underpaid, so that at least mitigates the price at the center position some.

Again, if Murray is the future a the 4 spot and plays as such, I’m calling it: Holmes and Barnes for Hayward and a pick(s) will happen at some point this season.

Jack
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September 20, 2022 12:25 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I looked up your trade idea on trade machine. If we did this it would cost us 6 games on the minus side. I don’t know if we can afford this.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 20, 2022 12:39 pm
Reply to  Jack

I don’t buy the win/loss projections of the trade machine. My guess it is based on past data and can’t possibly project the role, impact and stats a player would have once on the new team.

For instance, are Holmes projections in that machine based on his past performances, of which he was a starter and played 25 minutes a game or does it take into count he is now a bench player who will averaging around 10 minutes less per game behind Sabonis?

Jack
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September 20, 2022 12:54 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I have to go by something then I would only be guessing. If I had a choice between you and the machine Adam I like you a lot and usually are on your side of your comments. This time I’m sorry Adam.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 20, 2022 1:17 pm
Reply to  Jack

Fair enough.

How come that same ESPN trade machine show that the Hornets don’t gain wins by swapping Hayward for Barnes and Holmes then? If getting Hayward for those two costs the Kings 6 games, shouldn’t it help the Hornets?

Also, the one that gets me is when you swap Mason Plumlee for Holmes. Numbers work, but it give the Kings 5 more wins but adds 4 losses to the Hornets. That makes zero sense. According the trade machine the Kings should make that trade yesterday.

I just think it’s a flawed system.

Jack
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September 20, 2022 2:01 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I concede on the Holmes Plumlee trade. I see your point. On the other I might understand it. When I try and make trades for the Kings I use the the trade machine mostly to get the money right. Any other I use my own judgement as to how this would affect both teams. A am swayed a little on the Kings side. Thanks for your comments.GO KINGS!!!

Jack
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September 20, 2022 6:34 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Adamsite: I wanted to get back you sooner but we had a power outage for about 4 hours. I am worried about certain things with Hayward and wanted your opinion. First is his injury history. Next is his age along with the salary he is making.Third can he play defense and fourth does he have enough offense to start at SF? I wold like your take on these questions.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 20, 2022 10:00 pm
Reply to  Jack

IMO, all of your questions are totally valid. His injury history is my biggest concern, but when healthy, he is better than Barnes on the wing.

I could care less about his age because he is about the “now” an all you are really swapping out is an expiring Barnes and a (currently) overpaid Holmes who is on the books for 3 more years, while Hayward is on the books for 2 more years. If you take Holmes’ contract into account you are getting Hayward at more of a fair market value.

IMO, Hayward is more of a wing than Barnes is and can slot in at the 3 while giving room for Keegan at the 4. He’s also a very willing passer and is just as much a threat from 3 as Barnes is.

In the end you are getting out of Holmes’ deal, opening up opportunity for Murray at the 4, getting a legit 3, getting something more long term for Barnes’ deal, but are risking Hayward’s injury history. This is why I’d insist on a pick coming back to the Kings.

It’s a risk for sure, but better than hanging onto an expensive back up in Holmes or letting Barnes walk for nothing. For me, it just comes down to asset management.

Jack
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September 21, 2022 6:48 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Thanks a lot. You make sense. I agree with all points but do have a little problem with injury problems. Enough said. Let’s move on.

ArcoThunder
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September 22, 2022 8:19 am
Reply to  Adamsite

This was the trade I was pushing the moment the season ended. Makes soooooo much sense to me. However, now that the season is starting with all these players still on their same teams I’m reluctant to be “hopeful” for this trade as I was before. Why? Not because I don’t like it but because I seriously doubt the Kings making a move this big with two guys that are a big part of the atmosphere/leadership in the locker mid season. I just can’t see it anymore. If the Kings are competing for a playoff spot as many are predicting then it makes it even less likely. If the Kings are doing well and in the conversation I think we should fully expect Barnes to stay and then lose him for nothing (which really sucks). If the Kings are disappointing and are at 11 or 12 come the all star break then I think most people would be calling for a Barnes trade of any kind. Whether Holmes and Barnes to Charolette is the best deal involving Barnes is an outcome I actually hope we don’t get to find out about. While I think not trading Barnes and Holmes before the start of this season was a mistake by Monte (a pretty big one), I do get the argument that not trading them gives the team the best chance to end the shitty streak at 16 years. Trading them mid season just doesn’t compute with that if they are in fact in the conversation of the 8th seed.

Jack
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September 20, 2022 11:03 am

I agree with your above comments that the Kings would be more enjoyable to watch with Holmes on the court. However, I think he is to good to use as a backup center. The Kings might be able to make a trade to maybe bolster their PF. The Hornets really need an upgrade at center. Could we trade Holmes for PJ Washington and another asset. PJW could be an upgrade at PF. and he does play some center. Just an idea.

andy_sims
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September 20, 2022 11:09 am

You’re right, Holmes’ defense is somewhat underrated. You don’t want him needing to jump out on speedy guards twenty times per game, but he does a pretty nice job of staying in front of ballhandlers, and there’s never an issue of effort.

For me the negative on Holmes right now is that there haven’t been any additions to his skillset since he got to Sacramento. The man shoots a respectable percentage from the free throw line, so why hasn’t he been able to add the three to his game?

I don’t think that it’s likely that he’s become proficient from distance, and the coaches tell him he must not take those shots. He would become so much more dangerous on offense if he could hit 34-35 percent, even on just 2-3 attempts per game. Every offseason, I have (what I think is) a reasonable expectation that Holmes is going to add a new facet to his game, and it just hasn’t happened.

Holmes busts his ass, and is easy to root for. I want to see improvement.

Kosta
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September 20, 2022 11:18 am
Reply to  andy_sims

HOLMES SHOT 40% FROM THREE LAST SEASON, HOLMIE!

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*on .4 attempts per game

RobHessing
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September 21, 2022 11:21 am
Reply to  Kosta

.

BB0B459E-F241-4866-AA92-C08C57422FF1.jpeg
aplumley
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September 20, 2022 2:14 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

The man shoots a respectable percentage from the free throw line, so why hasn’t he been able to add the three to his game?

He shoots a push shot from the free throw line. It’s an ineffective shooting motion beyond that.

catterj
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September 20, 2022 11:21 am


Hopefully, Richaun is reinventing his shooting. Keep the push shot out to the free throw line. But I hope he adds a three from each corner and a trailer three, all at a moderately respectful percentage, say 33%-35%. Something where the opposing center cannot just spread his arms wide while standing at the nail, completely ignoring Holmes in Delay centered above the break.

If there will be no spacing, it’s going to be tough to play Sabonis and Holmes together unless Fox can shoot threes but not just moderately respectful. He must maintain his 3P% from the end of last season. The Golden State Warriors can start Draymond Green (a very good distributor) and Kevon Looney, two players that cannot shoot, because they have three of Curry, Klay, Poole, or Wiggins who can shoot well from distance. It also helps that Green is all-time at defense.

One wrinkle I could see is having Holmes cut from the corner for lobs. If he is standing in the corner while Fox/Davion/Monk/Huerter run pick and roll with Domas, Richaun’s man, drifted down the low block near Richaun, will likely feel very free to tag Domas’s roll or trap the box against a drive by the guard. Richaun could sprint backdoor to the rim and be there for the lob finish from the guard. Or Domas, a good passer, could get the dump off and operate in the short roll to accomplish the same thing.

Here is a 3 minute YouTube video from The Basketball Dictionary that shows what I’m talking about. Notice the last play shown with Nick Collison passing from the short roll which I think Domas could do even better.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 20, 2022 11:51 am
Reply to  catterj

If the Kings roll out a lineup of Sabonis, Fox and Holmes with regularity, they’ll likely face quite a bit of zone defense to close down the paint.

By the way, catterj, your analysis and video clips have been a joy to read in recent days. Thanks!

catterj
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September 20, 2022 12:43 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Appreciate it!

Kingsguru21
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September 20, 2022 3:58 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

What Adam said, Jon.

1951
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September 20, 2022 11:37 am

comment image

DutchKingsFanInUK
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September 20, 2022 12:40 pm

I wonder if Brown might start him early in the season and play two bigs. I hope he doesn’t, but I could see him opt for some extra size next to Sabonis.

All in all, I expect Holmes to be better than last year (low bar), but definitely not at the level of the 20-21 season. He just doesn’t fit the roster anymore after the Sabonis move, while just earning too much to keep him on the bench for 30 minutes per night.

I’m quite surprised teams like Phoenix/Dallas (before signing JaVale) didn’t pursue him this off season, I think he’d have fit really well there.

Hobby916
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September 20, 2022 12:56 pm

If Holmes and Sabonis occupy the floor together with any sort of regularity, it will probably be a disaster. The only reason they would do so would be if another team went with 2 bigs, which usually does not happen.

Yakshi
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September 20, 2022 12:59 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

Twin Towers though. Holmes with an alley oop to Sabonis! Who alley oops it right back to Holmes! Who alley oops it right back to Sabonis! And why are they both scowling at each other?

BestHyperboleEver
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September 21, 2022 3:07 pm
Reply to  Yakshi

Doesn’t it count as twin towers if they’re both undersized Centers? Twin moderately tall office buildings? Twin mid-rise apartments?

Kingsguru21
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September 20, 2022 2:29 pm

I’ve been coming around to the notion that Holmes should start each half with Sabonis for about 5 minutes a stretch. While I get the issues with that idea, it’s only 5 minutes. And, I’ll point this out:

The Sacramento Kings are better and are more enjoyable to watch when Richaun Holmes is thriving.

This is apt, but more importantly I agree. And it’s always about whether I agree or not. Anyhoo, I digress. The point is that when Holmes is playing well the Kings are more enjoyable to watch, and watching him slog through a few minutes off the bench before he was shut down last season was rather unpleasant.

Additionally, because I think Holmes can defend PF’s on the perimeter very well, that allows him to be utlized in those matchup’s more effectively. If he’s able to hit some corner 3’s and even a few above the break 3’s, that’s simply going to be a wonderful lineup.

I know Keegan Murray is the new savior and all, but if you want to have a successful season you have to get more out of your veterans like Holmes than a limited bench role (15 MPG). One way to do that is to start Holmes instead of Murray and use him as the backup C when Sabonis comes out of the game.

That said, regardless of role, I’m just really hoping for a bounceback year from Richaun. He’s a fun player to watch and I found it rather irritating the Kings never used Holmes and Sabonis in any lineup’s after the trade last season. I’m hoping the same mistake isn’t made again this year.

Adamsite
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September 20, 2022 2:49 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

But if you bring Keegan off of the bench is he allowed to win ROY, 6th man, and MVP all in the same year? I didn’t know that was allowed.

Last edited 12 days ago by Adamsite
Kingsguru21
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September 20, 2022 3:56 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

The voters will just have to adjust to this mind blowing phenomenon Adam.

fossilizedflatus
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September 21, 2022 3:54 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

“Most Valuable Sixth Rookie”

Maximus
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September 20, 2022 3:19 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

It is very possible he starts at the 4.

I have been thinking about what kind of defensive schemes this team has to run to minimize the lack of defensive versatility by starting Fox, Barnes and Sabonis. It can’t be switch, too many bad defenders. It has to be traditional drop and ICE. Which means Holmes has to be the low man because he is the best and the most proven.

It is true Holmes is fun to watch.

Jack
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September 20, 2022 6:40 pm
Reply to  Maximus

I love to watch him also and he has over the last couple of years been my favorite player but will this get us to the playoffs?

catterj
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September 21, 2022 10:24 am
Reply to  Maximus

If Holmes and Sabonis are playing together, I think they should do what I’ve recently learned is called a Pre-Switch. The team on offense picks their screener who may be guarded by Sabonis. Holmes and Sabonis switch quickly prior to the screen so Holmes can guard the screener AND switch onto the ball handler if necessary. Jerry said Richaun is the best center at defending wings, and pre-switching may make that more likely in a Sabonis/Holmes lineup.

Without looking at stats (which could completely blow up this idea), Holmes just seems like the better defender on PnR, certainly better able to hedge, trap, or catch hedge than Sabonis.

Here is an article from TBAD on Pre-Switch.

Maximus
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September 21, 2022 5:21 pm
Reply to  catterj

Interesting idea. I think I have seen this when the Warriors played the Celtics. To protect Curry, there would be a pre-switch to prevent him from potentially checking Brown or Tatum.

We will see. The Pacers tried many different defensive schemes with Sabonis so we have a lot of data. Sabonis used to lead NBA in defensive distance travel because they asked him to hedge and recover.
https://go.nba.com/vpfj3

Gregoryl
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September 20, 2022 2:42 pm

I don’t see success when the offense would have to so drastically change when Sabonis comes out and Holmes goes in. Could it works with them playing together? Yikes, I don’t see it.

andy_sims
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September 20, 2022 2:53 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

The offense would change drastically in what way? The scheme would go from putting shooters around a center who doesn’t stretch the floor to…?

Adamsite
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September 20, 2022 4:28 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

To be fair, one you can run the offense through (Sabonis) the other you cannot (Holmes). One can also go to work and get you a bucket in the post (Sabonis) while the other really can’t (Holmes). That would change the offense a bit.

Shooters are shooter, but Holmes and Sabonis are apples and orangutans.

Just as an example, if I were pulling Sabonis for rest, I’d like to see Barnes operate on the block where he has had success, but am not sure I’d want to see Barnes do that with Sabonis on the floor.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 21, 2022 3:11 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

This actually made me think that if you wanted to be able to run the same offense with your second unit, you could try to get Plumlee included in your Charlotte deal.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 21, 2022 3:10 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Grouping Sabonis and Holmes under the same “Center who doesn’t stretch the floor” qualifies as a good example of reduction ad absurdum. Aside from their shared lack of 3pt shooting, the two couldn’t be more different.

murraytant
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September 20, 2022 5:57 pm

I have always loved and appreciated RH game. However, he plays the same position as DS and is not as valuable as a player. In addition, bless his heart, he is not a starter on a ply-off (not play-in) team.
Kings need 5 quality starters. I think his role is overpriced back up 5. But play his heart out for 12 minutes per game. His game is slightly different than DS but neither is a shooting threat. Good % but no range or either.
Every team seems to have a guy who used to fit, but now does not and is overpaid for his role.
Play together- doubtful- both are under sized.

Jack
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September 20, 2022 6:48 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I love Holmes but I agree. He could still be a starting center for a lot of teams one being the Hornets. If we could trade Holmes for P J Washington and another asset such as Bocknight we would have a valuable backup at the PF position and a third guard who wold be better than the 3 trying out now. PJW is a good rim protector and can also back up at the center position.He is only 23 and has a good contract.

Adamsite
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September 20, 2022 10:07 pm
Reply to  Jack

But why another backup PF about to hit RFA when you have Lyles and Metu behind Murray and Barnes? And how is Bouknight any better than Huerter, Monk, or Mitchell. I feel the guard depth is sound, minus a legit 3rd string PG.

I also feel the Hornets aren’t giving up PJ anytime soon with the uncertainty of Bridges future in the league.

Jack
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September 21, 2022 6:55 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I meant that Bocknight would be better than Delly, Cook or Merrill. IMO PJW is better than Lyles or Metu.

HongKongKingsFan
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September 21, 2022 8:16 am
Reply to  Jack

Bocknight would has bad dream and nightmare everynight if he needs to face Davion in practise every day.

Jack
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September 21, 2022 8:37 am

The reason I traded for Bocknight was to make the money work so we could get PJW.

murraytant
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September 21, 2022 1:01 pm
Reply to  Jack

Booknight is better than either of those 2 but is that his position- can he guard PG’s?
and PJW is better than Lyles, Metu.
Good trade ( with some reservations) but it would take the Hornets to agree.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 21, 2022 4:16 pm
Reply to  murraytant

Alright, at this point it’s out of control. The guy’s name is Bouknight. Not Bocknight. Not Booknight. James Bouknight.

Maximus
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September 21, 2022 9:19 am
Reply to  Jack

I don’t know if the Hornets wants Holmes. They still have Plumlee for one year and they just drafted Mark Williams. I think Holmes is would still be a backup there which means it is unlikely they are interested in Holmes.

The only team I think might have a use for Holmes is the Bulls. Vucevic has been declining and has one year left on his contract. Bulls just signed Drummond but Holmes is much better.

How about Holmes for Tony Bradley and Coby White?

Kingsguru21
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September 21, 2022 10:34 am
Reply to  Maximus

I think the Bulls would wait…… but Patrick Williams and Drummond would be the choice I’m thinking the Kings would prefer (of younger players). But that might be a late December move at the very earliest when Drummond is eligible to be traded (Dec 15th).

Jack
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September 21, 2022 11:14 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I really like Williams.

Hobby916
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September 21, 2022 11:19 am
Reply to  Jack

Williams and Murray would be nice to have together. There might be some redundancy as they both are probably best at the “4” position, but two guys that can do a lot on the court would help.

Jack
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September 21, 2022 11:23 am
Reply to  Hobby916

What about Patrick Williams and Derrick Jones. Williams starts at SF and although Jones isn’t a scorer he sure can play defense?

Hobby916
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September 21, 2022 11:42 am
Reply to  Jack

Jones is okay. He hasn’t stuck with a team for very long, so that is concerning. He would also be fighting for minutes with the other guards.

Maximus
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September 21, 2022 11:29 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Oh, Williams is too valuable for Holmes. I don’t think we have anything that can be traded for Williams.

I agree the Bulls would wait at least until Dec 15th when Drummond and Jones Jr are eligible to be traded. And they also would want to know how much Vucevic has left in the tank.

Kingsguru21
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September 21, 2022 11:56 am
Reply to  Maximus

Thanks for killing my dream!!!!

murraytant
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September 21, 2022 1:03 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Dreams die hard in Kings land.
Not sure if anyone sees RH as a starter.

Kingsguru21
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September 21, 2022 1:05 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I wasn’t really expecting anything to happen anyway. But….I guess dreams die hard. Depending on the person.

I’m optimistic about the season, still.

Maximus
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September 21, 2022 2:32 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Lol, all we have to do is dream

Kingsguru21
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September 21, 2022 2:53 pm
Reply to  Maximus

all we have to do is dream

Especially when you reside in Kangzville.

murraytant
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September 21, 2022 12:59 pm
Reply to  Jack

Jack- I always love your trades. They are a bit one sided. Don’t think the Hornets do this at all.

Second- Kings have guards- is Booknight better than Davion? than Monk? than Huerter? or even TD?
PJ does create more of a log jam at PF. If the thought is that Murray is a SF, then there is some sense to it but is not PJ’s contract up soon?

Jack
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September 21, 2022 1:13 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I was thinking that PJW would be a backup to Murray. We still have Barnes as a trade or he can play the SF. Starters: Fox, Huerter, Barnes, Murray and Sabonis. Backups: Mitchell, Monk, Davis, Washington and either Len or Queta. Bocknight was included as salary filler or as a third guard. If the Mavs wanted an upgrade then Barnes for Dorian Finley Smith. Smith is not the scorer Barnes is but plays really good defense. He would be a good fit at SF. To round out the money we would also get Josh Green. He is a project but young and he to plays defense.

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