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Richaun Holmes’ push shot is reaching new heights

The 27-year-old center's push shot is absurdly efficient, impacting the game in more ways than last year.

“That thing is on automatic, folks,” - Mark Jones on Richaun Holmes’ push shot, several times this season.

“He doesn’t miss that shot...he’s hunting that shot,” DeAaron Fox said on Zach Lowe’s The Lowe Post podcast. “That shot’s almost automatic for him.”

There’s your theme: Holmes is automatic. If you search the definition of automatic, there’s a 99.99% percent chance you’ll see a frame of Richaun Holmes attempting a push shot.

It’s not a coincidence that when Holmes is on the court, the Kings’ eFG% rises by 3.6 percentage points, compared to when he’s off. Holmes’ patented push shot has evolved into a staple of Sacramento’s offense, whether they run plays for him or when opponents collapse on someone like De’Aaron Fox or Harrison Barnes churning downhill. The latter leads to additional space for Holmes to attempt one.

Holmes’ individual numbers in specific spots on the floor are even more salivating than his team impact. He currently boasts a personal eFG% of 66.1 (90th percentile amongst bigs, also a career-high), while shooting 75% at the rim (83rd percentile) and 60% on all mid-range jumpers (97th percentile, career-high). All stats via Cleaning the Glass.

Narrowing his percentages, NBA.com tracking data tracks Holmes’ push shot under “floating jump shot” and right now, Holmes has converted on 72.5% (29-40) of them. Last season, Holmes’ efficiency wasn’t as dazzling, making only 30-59 (50.8%). Through 22 games played, Holmes’ push shot is eloquently better than last year, and he should eclipse last year’s attempt total at this pace.

For a maneuver requiring minimal effort, Holmes has weaponized it to punish teams for granting him the slightest inch.

Let’s watch some tape:

This play from Saturday’s contest is a variation of “21 Chase”. The idea is to clear out space on the weak side for your playmaker to attack, with a big man nearby to assist if necessary. Usually with 21 Chase, the weak side the playmaker is attacking is vacant, but Marvin Bagley is located in the left corner which is plausible, as I detailed here.

Buddy Hield will relocate to the strong side as Holmes sets the screen. Hield and Fox play catch, preparing Fox to launch. Nikola Jokic drops as Fox progresses downhill off the screen. Holmes is in the short roll now, but notice how Denver defends him: Will Barton shows at the nail but shifts back to Hield; Michael Porter Jr. fully commits to prevent Holmes from attacking the rim, opening a path for Holmes to kick it out to Barnes in the corner.

Denver respects Holmes’ shot, but despite the tight space, Holmes has enough room to shoot.

The Tyrese Haliburton-Richaun Holmes dyad in the two-man game is especially fruitful. Haliburton’s artistry with head fakes, pocket passes and snake dribbles seizes defenders like a deer in headlights, and the pocket passing is on display here.

Watch Daniel Theis maintain leverage by reading the play. Cory Joseph sets the screen for Haliburton on the wide pindown, prompting Theis to establish “drop” position for the ensuing pick-and-roll. Theis attempts to split the difference between Haliburton’s downhill lane and Holmes’ roll lane, but it’s tough for one man to stop. Javonte Green shows at the nail, but that’s insufficient to disrupt Holmes. Haliburton delivers a crisp pocket pass, and Holmes has sufficient space to score.

Holmes has undoubtedly been Sacramento’s best pick-and-roll big this season, and the push shot plays a pivotal role because it adds a layer to his arsenal. Marvin Bagley’s mid-range jumper hasn’t stabilized yet, nor have they run enough pick-and-rolls for him to develop; Hassan Whiteside occasionally deploys a floater, but he thrives closer to the rim.

In fact, Holmes ranks eighth in the league in field-goal percentage off pick-and-rolls, swaggering a 69.6% clip. What is more compelling is that four players above Holmes have truncated frequencies in pick-and-rolls: DeAndre Jordan (24.5% frequency), Montrezl Harrell (7.1%), Miles Bridges (9.9%), and Mitchell Robinson (24.2%) all have better field-goal percentages than Holmes but aren’t involved in these plays at the same rate (27.9 % frequency for Holmes).

I showed you how Holmes utilizes his push shot within half-court sets, but before we started watching the tape, I mentioned Holmes is a beneficiary of collapsing defenses. This is a prime example.

Fox whips an insane one-handed pass out to Barnes in the corner who lowers his head and attacks the basket after Jeff Teague’s (too) hard closeout. Theis slides over with the help, freeing Holmes, who establishes position to shoot. Jayson Tatum is a second too late, and it’s a bucket.

Another positive of Holmes’ shot is he’s attempting it at an elevated rate. Last year, his attempts from mid-range — where the push shot tallies — accounted for 35% of his overall attempts (81st percentile), per Cleaning the Glass. This year, it’s currently perched at 50% (95th percentile). He’s attempting more while augmenting efficiency. It’s simply absurd.

The push shot sneakily incorporates itself in putbacks too. Per NBA.com tracking data, Holmes is currently in the 62.4 percentile for putback efficiency. While his offensive rebounding rate has shrunk (10.5% last season to 8.9% this season), he’s still generating 1.18 points per possession on putbacks (1.22 last season).

“If he misses one and we get the offensive rebound, if he gets it again, he’s making it,” Fox said on “The Lowe Post” podcast. “There’s no way he’s missing two in a row.

"Ever.”

 

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andy_sims
February 9, 2021 11:35 am

I’m pretty sure that at least 75% of Hield’s assists this season end up with a Holmes push shot. The connection there has been pretty good, which has made me slightly less terrified when Buddy dribbles into the paint.

And as an aside, “salivating” is a verb, not an adjective.

HopelesslyHopeful
February 9, 2021 12:33 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Yeah, that’s a good point about Buddy. and I believe the proper adjective form of salivating is “salivatizing”. lol

Hamlet1989
February 9, 2021 11:42 am

Holmes could be the kicker in trade talks that gets a team to give up a 1st rounder for Barnes or Buddy. Then he’s on the market again after the season.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 9, 2021 12:04 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

Yeah, Brenden and Rich broke down Holmes possible trade value in their recent Kings Pulse podcast. They discuss Holmes near the end and it is definitely worth a listen.

The just of it is Holmes may be too expensive to keep next season and how much should the Kings be willing to pay him if they do choose to keep him. The catch is, if they don’t want to pay Holmes what other may be willing, the Kings would be best to move him by the deadline. It would be crippling to let him walk for nothing.

Kosta
February 9, 2021 12:19 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I will chip in for the Richaun Holmes Kickstarter/GoFundMe.

If that’s not legal, I’ll take a pay cut.

RORDOG
February 9, 2021 1:05 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

The little wrinkle is that the Kings don’t really have cap space to make significant moves to improve the team this offseason. If they can re-sign Holmes using the early bird exception, then that’s a win from an asset management perspective IMO. It’s definitely a gamble either way. What’s crazy, is there hasn’t been a single rumor about the front office’s thinking going into the trade deadline. We have no idea if this team will be buyers or sellers. I think they’ll probably let things play out the next few weeks, then decide which direction they’re headed.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 9, 2021 1:29 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Agreed, I think McNair is rightfully sitting on his hands right now. Jerry mentioned in his podcast that the Kings should be fielding all calls but not necessarily reaching out to others. A lot can change between now and the deadline. Injuries/protocols can really hurt a contender and they may be willing to pay more for players like Buddy, Barnes or Holmes by the deadline.

Kings may have a hard time keeping Holmes with that Early-Bird exception. at 175% of this current salary, that would only be around $9M per year for Holmes. Does he sign for that kind of rebate?

PretendGhost
February 9, 2021 3:23 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

They could do an honor-system signing — 2 year with a player option, with the promise that if he keeps up this level of effectiveness they reward him next season

Holmes has also said he wants to stay. He knows what kind of limitations the Kings might have on signing him, so him saying that does mean something. He doesn’t strike me as money hungry, and if he feels at home in Sac and like he might be able to be a part of the team’s ascension, he might be willing to stay. Time will tell.

RORDOG
February 9, 2021 4:04 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I’ve always wondered about the discussions that take place with players in this sort of contract limbo. Holmes must know the Kings can only offer so much on his next contract. He at least seems like he’d be happy to stay if the market for his services is roughly what the Kings can afford:

“I absolutely love playing in Sacramento. Love the fans in Sacramento. Love stepping out in that arena with Sacramento across my jersey,” Holmes said. “So I would love to play here and hopefully everything works out, but Sacramento is a great place to play. They’ve embraced me with open arms and it’s somewhere I can definitely see myself playing (going forward).”

PretendGhost
February 9, 2021 3:39 pm
Reply to  Hamlet1989

Right now, the Kings should not be looking to trade Barnes or Holmes for anything less than a “Now and later” package — either 1) a player who can approximate what they do on the court now plus picks and/or prospects, or 2) a young guy who is already playing at a high level. For Buddy there’s a little more attraction to a salary dump, but I think he could be on track to turn his season around, and it’s worth noting that opposing teams gameplan for him in ways that tend to benefit his teammates.

The Kings have a death lineup that’s good on paper and passing the eye test, and all 5 of them can definitely play another 5 years at this level, health permitting. If there’s not clear improvement to be had, then hold tight, I say.

Last edited 4 months ago by PretendGhost
Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
February 9, 2021 12:01 pm

Give credit where credit is due. Kosta Koufos taught Holmes a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to the push shot.

Kosta
February 9, 2021 12:20 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

comment image

…”Patent pending!” or something like that

Last edited 4 months ago by Kosta
Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
February 9, 2021 12:27 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Good job, Kosta!
comment image

Kosta
February 9, 2021 12:39 pm
Reply to  Klam

“Give me a hi-fifteen, buddy!”
comment image

Last edited 4 months ago by Kosta
Kosta
February 9, 2021 12:08 pm

(looking back, too)

From Blake Ellington’s December 4, 2020 article:

He’s been working on his shooting mechanics and spent “countless hours” in the gym in recent months.

“Just adding that part to my game so people can respect that shot, respect the floor spacing I think it’s important for our team,” said the 27-year-old Holmes said on Thursday during a media call. “I think it’s going to pay dividends. … If I’m open I’m looking to shoot it.”

Richaun Holmes hopes to bring an outside shot and playmaking this season

Richaun Holmes hopes to bring an outside shot and playmaking this season

Last edited 4 months ago by Kosta
1951
February 9, 2021 12:18 pm

I would be totally fine if Sacramento began construction of the Richaun Holmes statute right now.

PretendGhost
February 9, 2021 3:26 pm
Reply to  1951

I’d be concerned about the limitations

rc50cal
February 9, 2021 6:41 pm
Reply to  PretendGhost

Rec’d for the superb word play!

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
February 9, 2021 12:28 pm

I also want to give a shoutout to Richaun Holmes’ mom. She’s an MVP.

Kosta
February 9, 2021 12:41 pm
Reply to  Klam

Most Valuable Parent!

HopelesslyHopeful
February 9, 2021 12:37 pm

I need me a T-Shirt with the silhouette of Holmes doing that push shot. Somebody, please, what does the caption say?

Patent Pending?

Kosta
February 9, 2021 12:43 pm

!! This will be the next great TKH hoodie/T-shirt !!

Get video footage of Holmes walking around the G1C hallways wearing it and this could fill the hearts of the fans who weren’t able to get the Rese’s Passes hoodie.

1951
February 9, 2021 12:45 pm

Ooh, baby, baby
Baby, baby

Ah, push it
Push it real good

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
February 9, 2021 12:43 pm

Here’s an interesting stat!

RORDOG
February 9, 2021 1:08 pm

I like that quite a few Kings players have a signature shot/move.

1951
February 9, 2021 1:13 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

My favorite Kings signature shot/move of all time:
comment image

Last edited 4 months ago by 1951
RORDOG
February 9, 2021 1:19 pm
Reply to  1951

the man really knew how to put on a show

1951
February 9, 2021 1:26 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

All No. 1 and 2 picks that play for the Kings do! 😉

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
February 9, 2021 3:23 pm
Reply to  1951

Oh God, I forgot about that….

RobHessing
February 9, 2021 1:58 pm

I call the Hield-to-Holmes push shot the “alley-oof.” Frightening and lacking in aesthetics from start to finish, but it sure has been effective.

Kosta
February 9, 2021 3:17 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

It’s like Kareem’s Sky Hook, but more unstoppable!

Carina707
February 9, 2021 4:44 pm

I hope we keep him long term. He plays so well with Hali.

rc50cal
February 9, 2021 6:40 pm

This is extremely high quality, in-depth analysis. I don’t know of another place we can get this coverage of the Kings. I’m glad to pay for it. I encourage the rest of you to also chip in a few bucks if you can.

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