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A 76ers blogger tells you what you need to know about new Suns center Richaun Holmes

Liberty Ballers editor Kevin F. Love takes you into Holmes’ three years in Philadelphia and what to expect from him in Phoenix.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

You may be used to it by now, but when the Suns acquire an end-of-the-bench player from a team across the country, it’s tough to know what to expect.

Last week, the Suns essentially traded Jared Dudley, a 2021 second-round pick and $1 million for Richaun Holmes, who had become extraneous within Philadelphia’s frontcourt rotation.

Kevin F. Love, who runs Liberty Ballers, SB Nation’s 76ers site, was kind enough to color in the faint outline we in Phoenix have of Holmes, a fourth-year player out of Bowling Green.

Here’s what he had to say.

With regard to Holmes’ first impressions in Philly:

“Richaun Holmes arrived in Philadelphia as a project, and he left Philadelphia as a project. Based on height alone, Holmes is a bit undersized for a center ( lists him at 6’10”, but I think he’s more like 6’8”/6’9”) though his ability to ascend vertically combined with his core power allows him to man the position just fine stylistically speaking.

Holmes won over the hearts of a lot of Sixers fans early on because of his knack for finishing lob passes with thunderous dunks and occasionally sending opposing field goal attempts into the 9th row. Those plays were all well and good to see from a 2nd round pick early on in his career, but Holmes never really developed his skill set to do anything more than rim run.”

A little bit on Holmes’ offense:

In ‘16-’17, Holmes appeared to have extended his range, as his 35.1% 3PT shooting was respectable when considering he shot just 18.2% from deep his rookie season. He simply hasn’t demonstrated a whole lot of ways to score (he does have this weird, quick, mid-post, line drive of a hook shot that resembles an Olympic shot-putter’s form; it almost seems like he’s nervous and just thinks to himself “throw it toward the rim!” but it goes in). Despite his limited capabilities on offense, he can be useful setting screens, fighting for put backs and diving through the lane. Pair him with a good passer out of the pick-and-roll, and Holmes can punish the rim.

Kevin thinks the defense may have slightly more promise:

“I don’t believe that he can’t be a good defender -- and his metrics aren’t bad -- but through three seasons, it was pretty clear why Brett Brown would at times completely remove Holmes from the rotation. The forceful rejections that left fans in awe were often the result of block chasing rather than positional awareness, and Brown just won’t accept a defensively unreliable center. Holmes has some bad habits that pull him out of position, but a change of scenery and a new coach might help that. The flashes are there, as Holmes defends the pick-and-roll well.”

Finally (and take Kevin’s Deandre Ayton takes with the requisite grain of salt), here is the Sixers blogger’s overall impressions of how Holmes can fit in Phoenix. Remember, Holmes just left a situation with another talented center in Joel Embiid:

“There’s potential there to be effective, and the athleticism is undeniable. But it’s worrisome that Holmes was never able to carve out a consistent role on even the bad Sixers teams. He needs more time on the floor, and maybe Phoenix can offer that. I wouldn’t pair him with Ayton at all, as I think you’d have a better chance stopping a leaky roof with a single ply of toilet paper than you would thwarting opposing offenses with a frontcourt of Ayton and Holmes. He’s still raw with (albeit, limited) upside, and it’s a low risk chance to take.”

So what do you think? Is Holmes a substantial step up over the other bigs on the Suns’ roster? Can Phoenix bring the best out of him?


How high are you on Richaun Holmes’ fit with the Suns?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    He’ll be Ayton’s backup. Won’t impact the overall success of the team.
    (611 votes)
  • 38%
    He’ll challenge Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender for the lion’s share of backup big man minutes.
    (616 votes)
  • 3%
    He’ll push Ayton and make the center position a legitimate battle over the course of the year.
    (55 votes)
  • 19%
    He’ll be on another team by the trade deadline.
    (317 votes)
1599 votes total Vote Now