The Dallas Mavericks have lacked a consistent presence in their frontcourt rotation in the Luka Dončić era for quite some time now. Acquired with a draft night trade, Richaun Holmes is here to fix that.
A former second-round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Holmes has stops with the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns but is mostly known for his time with the Sacramento Kings. In four seasons with the Kings, Holmes averaged 10.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game while shooting 64.4 percent from the field. He had a career year in the 2020-21 season, averaging 14.2 points on 63.7 percent from the field, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks while starting all 61 games he appeared in.
When Sacramento traded for Domantas Sabonis two years ago, Holmes’ role quickly diminished from 29 minutes a night to just eight last season as he fell completely out of the rotation.
How are the Mavericks going to utilize Richaun Holmes’ skill set? While he’s not expected to be a major cog in Dallas’ process, his intangibles are why he was brought in. At 6’10”, he can put the ball on the floor, has an above-average floater for his size, and has a decent appetite on the low block. On defense, he’s a persistent rim protector who may not always get the block but has the ability to force teams to think twice and redirect their shots.
Best Case Scenario
Don’t let his last season with the Kings fool you. Holmes has what the Mavericks have lacked in the frontcourt rotation. At best, he has a track record of being an efficient scorer and a determined rebounder. He didn’t play much in the first three preseason games, but Holmes looked comfortable in the Mavericks’ defensive coverages and stayed active around the rim on both sides of the ball.
No one is expecting Holmes to replicate his career year from two seasons ago, but his promise before the Sabonis trade is cause for hope.
Worst Case Scenario
Holmes fails to carve a role out for himself in the rotation. With willing passers in Dončić and Kyrie Irving, playing off their ball pressure in the pick-and-roll and as a determined cutter to open things up on offense yields instant results. Still, in the 20 regular season games Dončić has shared in a Mavericks uniform, several players haven’t taken advantage of this on a consistent basis.
Holmes’ energy in the paint and around the rim on both ends will be huge. That’s what he needs to do to stand out from the pack. Impact the game by doing all the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. Set solid picks, protect the rim, and make himself available for the star guards who will be looking to get him the ball.
Holmes looks like he at least deserves a solid spot in the rotation based on what we’ve seen in his limited time on the court. If the stars align, Holmes’ first season in Dallas could be one of his best. The objective is clear yet simple. For the first time in years, Dallas has a big who opposing defenses will have to respect in a myriad of ways, adding yet another wrinkle to what he brings to the table.