Articles | Commentary | Numbers

Season Review: Richaun Holmes

Richaun Holmes was the Kings' lone consistent big man and a rare defensive bright spot this season.

Welcome to our Season Review series. Instead of season grades, we're going to review the season as a whole for each player individually. We continue with Richaun Holmes.

Richaun Holmes is a dude built to thrive in Sacramento. When the highly-paid Dewayne Dedmon failed to bring his basketball skills with him to California in 2019, it was Richaun Holmes and his modest mid-level exception contract that swiped the starting center spot and never looked back. Holmes has become a Sacramento fan favorite with his tenacity and grit, a trait in short supply over the 15 year playoff drought, and he’s connected with the fanbase in a way few journeymen players have in the last decade. With his effort and high-basketball instincts on both ends of the court, Holmes is a dude who can withstand even the flames of basketball hell and play unscathed.

Holmes’ had a career year this season, finishing with 14.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game on 63.7% shooting and 79.4% from the line. While Holmes isn’t the tallest, strongest, or most physically intimidating big in the NBA—his listed 6’10 size seems generous on most nights when he stands next to his center matchups—the 27-year-old has developed plenty of counters for bigger opponents. Some of his best games of the year were against star bigs; 25 points and 10 boards against Rudy Golbert and the Jazz on April 10th, 22 points, 9 boards, and 3 assists vs. Anthony Davis and the Lakers on April 30, and two 20 point outings against Nikola Jokić and the Nuggets. For a team that struggled with both skill and mental consistency, Holmes was a rare, consistent bright spot on both ends.

Holmes continued to dominate as a pick-and-roll big, and over a third of his offense in the 2020-21 season came in the PnR. He averaged a whopping 4.2 attempts per game and shot 64.2% on such attempts, fourth highest among players with more than 2.5 roll-man attempts per game (behind Jarrett Allen, Rudy Gobert, and Bam Adebayo). His chemistry with Tyrese Haliburton on the PnR was a huge boon to the rookie’s awesome first season in Sacramento.

The one limiting factor of Holmes’ offense since coming to Sacramento has been his spacing impact; while he shot three pointers early in his career with Philadelphia, those attempts vanished in Phoenix and Sacramento. And while most of Holmes’ offense this season did come in the paint—per NBA Stats, he had 479 of his 575 total shot attempts in either the restricted area or in the paint (and made 66% of them)—the addition of his now-legendary push-shot did help provide some much needed versatility to his offense. In 2019-20, Holmes took a total of 65 shot attempts from 8-16 feet—in 2020-21, those attempts jumped to 200.

While almost all of these attempts are at the edge of the paint, Holmes’ push shot gives the Kings’ many drivers a nearly-automatic option when rim protectors leave Richaun to stop the ball. It’s further proof (if any was needed) that Holmes has and will continue to develop as a player—and he noted in a media session last week that a priority this offseason will be stretching his game out to the three point line.

The Kings were a historically bad defensive team this year, and while every player deserves criticism for that, Holmes was a rare bright spot. Per NBA tracking stats, Holmes’ matchups shot 3.4% less than their average overall, and a whopping 10.9% less when close to the basket. Aside from De’Aaron Fox (who held his matchups to an astounding 0.1% below their averages overall), no other King who played serious minutes held opponents to below their overall averages. Holmes' success as a rim protector is well known, but an underrated part of his game continues to be his success at switching onto perimeter players, as best evidenced by his three blocks against Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in the Kings win against Boston in March.

Richaun was one of the best Kings on the season, which is both strong praise for Holmes and faint criticism for the Kings organization. Can a team with Holmes as the third or fourth best player truly be a playoff contender? Probably not, but odds are that plenty of teams will be interested in Holmes when he hits free agency this summer. Unless Holmes is willing to accept the Kings’ current max offer of 4 year, $47 million dollars, they will need to clear space to re-sign him. After a year in control, Monte McNair has set up a situation where he will either have to watch another one of his better players leave for nothing, or have to trade other players or assets to gain the space to keep him. But if Holmes has already played his last game in a Kings uniform, it doesn’t take away from his excellent season—he was the lone consistent big man and a rare defensive bright spot on the roster.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
May 25, 2021 8:47 am

Great review and video selections, but Holmes is currently twenty-seven.

May 25, 2021 8:57 am
Reply to  andy_sims

man this site needs a better editor

May 25, 2021 8:59 am
Reply to  Greg


In the Stockton coach article theres a place where Bobby was “hired fired” or something. You know, while we’re on the subject.

May 26, 2021 12:38 pm
Reply to  Greg

Yeah, just go ahead and fire that Exhibit G guy already.

May 25, 2021 8:51 am

You have to love players that make the absolute most of their opportunity, and in Holmes’ case, having to work his arse off just to create the opportunity.

May 25, 2021 8:58 am

Love having Holmes on the team. Would love to keep him assuming the money is right. Developing a consistent 3 would go a long way in helping the team. But it’s going to take some work. The hitch in his outside shot has actually gotten worse over the years. Now, to become consistent with it he’s probably going to have to make some relatively major mechanical adjustments. He has the touch, so if he can make those mechanical adjustments he should be able to become a viable stretch option.

May 25, 2021 9:41 am

Push shot 3?

May 25, 2021 9:03 am

The passion from Holmes is the most valuable to this team…

and my favourite play from him is below….
(No offense at all, just love his passion, shows how Holmes cares about the win/loss, as no one want to lose)comment image

I wish he could stay (for less than $10 million), but at the same time, we just need to keep our flexibility…..and Holmes has great chemistry with Tyrese.

May 25, 2021 10:58 am

Holmes isn’t taking less than $10 million and he shouldn’t be. Asking price is currently at 4 years/ $80 million which I’m pretty sure the Kings would not want to pay that kind of money to Holmes. 4 years/ $60 million? Probably. But my guess is Mcnair will look for other options either via trade or draft.

Last edited 20 days ago by RAP87
May 25, 2021 9:18 am

I absolutely love Holmes’ game. I understand he’ll be hard to re-sign but I hope the front office does everything in it’s power (including moving Bagley &/or Buddy) to keep him. The only thing that keeps me from giving him an A is his lack of long distance shooting. Other than that he is absolute money from within about 12-15 feet. He defends well, runs a great pnr, is a pretty damn good rim defender, shoots in the high 70’s from the free throw line and he loves being in Sacramento (what’s wrong with him?). I give him an A- and hope he’s with us next year.

Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
May 25, 2021 9:28 am

I think this is an important point:

Can a team with Holmes as the third or fourth best player truly be a playoff contender? Probably not, but odds are that plenty of teams will be interested in Holmes when he hits free agency this summer.

I love Holmes as much as anyone but have realized if he is your starting center without a few all-stars around him, you are probably not going to the playoffs. I think he could really thrive as a 6th man/first big off the bench like Montrezl Harrell.

It will be interesting to see how free agency plays out because I think there will definitely be a team out there that will offer just a bit more than the Kings currently can. The other 29 GMs are fully aware of the Kings cap restrictions when it comes to retaining Holmes. Getting him for $12-13M per year could be a solid contract going forward, but it is also more than the Kings can afford.

May 25, 2021 9:59 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I love Holmes as much as anyone but have realized if he is your starting center without a few all-stars around him, you are probably not going to the playoffs.

I think you need the All-Stars whether you have Holmes or not.

Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
May 25, 2021 10:40 am
Reply to  Carl

This is true. Every playoff team this year has an all-star, if not two.

May 26, 2021 12:48 pm
Reply to  Bryant

This is why my dream is to trade for Pascal Siakam and sign John Collins in FA. But that also requires probably only signing Holmes for that 4 yr 47 million number.

That said, I’m not sure how much above 4 yrs 50 million I’d agree to. And I love Richaun Holmes, and will root for him the rest of his career. But I’m not sure how much I’d pay beyond 12 million starting out with 8% raises. That works to a 4 yr 53.76 million deal.

But can the Kings still max Collins, trade for Siakam and resign Holmes? Yes, but they almost assuredly have to trade Delon Wright to do so.

May 26, 2021 8:34 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

The issue is you can say, “ if he is your starting ____ without a few all stars around him, you’re not going to the playoffs.” With just about everyone on this team.
Fox has shown to be a great volume scorer and makes a half hearted attempt on defense sometimes.
Halliburton is amazing and love him but he’s a rookie.
Barnes is what he is which is good but not an all star.
Beyond that who do we have that’s a lock?

Buddy needs to go, Bagley needs to go, after that it’s all spare parts what probably would be deep deep bench guys.

Basically it comes down to this. The kings are always 3 years away from being 3 years away. This isn’t a playoff team or even close to it. They missed a gimmick play in game not the true 8th spot. They had the easiest schedule out of anyone and teams above them losing and still shit the bed.

Fox is as close to an all star as we have and he’s showing more and more he’s not only not a leader he’s not that competitive. “If we only went 2-7.”

This team needs to be gutted. We all know that won’t happen, so who cares what he gets. Give him 80.

ive come to the realization that running it back with Luke means they are truly going to run it back.

May 25, 2021 11:03 am

He was one of my favorite players this year. Love his demeanor, energy and play. As someone else said: I wish he gets paid well, but I do not wish us to overpay for him.

Having said that, the real possibility that we will lose him for nothing is painful.

Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
May 25, 2021 11:47 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Yup. If McNair loses both Bogi and Holmes for nothing, he has quite the hole to climb out of to reach respectability, IMO. Especially since it’s been reported the Hawks offered Snell and a protected pick (likely converting to two 2nd rounders) and we know folks called about Holmes at the deadline.

May 26, 2021 12:51 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Meh. That means nothing. Show me the actual offers, or it’s pointless.

And there’s no way I do the ATL deal with Snell. 2 2nd’s will never be worth taking on Snell. That isn’t getting something, that’s just doing something for the sake of optics.

May 25, 2021 11:04 am

Last edited 20 days ago by RikSmits
May 25, 2021 11:12 am
Reply to  RikSmits

comment image

Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
May 25, 2021 11:18 am
Reply to  RobHessing

comment image
comment image

May 25, 2021 11:37 am
Reply to  Klam

comment image

Last edited 20 days ago by RobHessing
May 25, 2021 11:20 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Suck it, Pelicans, I guess.

May 25, 2021 4:23 pm

Having Bagley on the team kills this team in many ways. Cannot trade him because nobody wants him. Cannot sign free agents because Bagley is getting too much money because he sucks so bad.

Bagley unfortunately has an impact on this team.

May 25, 2021 9:41 pm

Richaun Holmes is good

Badge Legend

Patreon Supporter    Registered On Day 1    Published Post  Published Post Nostradumbass
200 Up Votes    500 Up Votes    1,000 Up Votes    3,000+ Up Votes
50 Comments    100 Comments    250 Comments    500 Comments    1000+ Comments