In the fourth installment of the “Trade Him, Keep Him, or Cut Him?” series, we have a debate over the future of Richaun Holmes. Holmes seems to be in a questionable situation. If there’s one area on the 76ers roster where they’re stacked at the most, it would be the frontcourt. They have their inevitable starter in Embiid at center, whenever he’s healthy, followed by Okafor and Holmes coming off the bench. It’s still undetermined how the Sixers will settle this situation, whether they’ll play three centers in case of another Embiid injury, or let one go. Between the two 2015 draft picks, many would agree that Holmes outplayed Okafor last season. Okafor is arguably the greater scorer, but Holmes completely blows him out of the water on defense.
Going into his third year, he’s defied all odds in order to make his impression off the bench despite starting his career deep on the depth chart. Holmes definitely has upsides in his game, but he still has room for improvement. He’s only 23 years old and he’s already established himself as a favorable player on the Sixers bench. Let’s take a look at his analysis from his first two seasons:
Holmes definitely upped his production on offense last season compared to his rookie year with the boost in playing time. He came off the bench as another scoring big to compliment the team when Embiid is sitting. He racked most of his scoring numbers from the field and under the rim. What immediately pops out is his remarkable 71.4% shooting down low from last season. He’s always been a consistent and efficient scorer putting up over 50% shooting in both seasons of his career. He has experience running the pick and roll with players like T.J. McConnell and could get a good glance of minutes playing alongside Fultz. Holmes has also shown he’s not afraid to pop a three as well. As shown in the graphic, he isn’t the worst three-point shooter, but he can still drain them at a fair percentage for a big man like him.
Holmes was nowhere near the solid rebounder many would’ve liked him to have been in his rookie season. However, he made a big jump in his second season. After the Nerlens Noel trade, he seemed to play with a more fiery passion when attacking the glass. Holmes used his stellar athleticism and height more as an advantage which helped bring his rebounds per game average up from 2.6 to 5.5 in an increased role.
Holmes has been an absolute stud shot blocker. The 76ers knew what they would be getting out of him when drafting him in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft. In his college days at Bowling Green, he broke several blocking records including the school’s single season record for most blocked shots with 88. His shot blocking tendencies transferred over into the big league in a big way. Holmes has shown no mercy at the rim with highlight reel blocks on players like Draymond Green and Blake Griffin. He has a lot of grit and doesn’t back down on defense. He’s proven to be the perfect player to play behind Embiid.
Overall, Holmes has been a great asset off the bench in his two years in the league. His consistency and grit on both sides of the ball as well as his rise from fourth on the depth chart has proven him to be a fan favorite in Philly. However, in a crowded frontcourt accompanied with Jahlil Okafor, there’s no indication what the Sixers will do with Holmes. Where do you stand on the future of Richaun Holmes in Philly?
My Verdict: Keep Him
Holmes is an incredibly talented, young player that can prove to be the difference maker for the future. There would be no gain in cutting him except for the reasons of clearing the frontcourt or getting cap space. Trading him would be an interesting option, but it’s unlikely the 76ers would get any big offers for him. So, the safest option is to keep Holmes in Philadelphia. His role coming off the bench will not go underappreciated and he should stay a fan favorite for years to come.
Featured Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
17 year old aspiring sports journalist and a fan of all things Philadelphia sports! #TrustTheProcess