Sacramento Kings: Richaun Holmes has been an absolute steal

Sacramento Kings (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Sacramento Kings have been searching for a capable big to hold down the center spot ever since trading DeMarcus Cousins. Their search may be over with the emergence of Richaun Holmes.

When Dewayne Dedmon signed with the Sacramento Kings early in free agency, he was supposed to be the answer to their big man problem.

Coming off the two best seasons of his career with the Atlanta Hawks, Dedmon was seen as one of the better free-agent big men on the market and came to terms with the Kings on a three year, $40 million deal.

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By comparison, Richaun Holmes arrived in the state capital without much fanfare. A career backup, Holmes was thought to be a depth signing, coming with a significantly lower price tag than Dedmon at two years and $9.77 million.

Dedmon opened the season as the starter and held on to that role for the first four games this season. Having developed a reliable three-point shot in Atlanta, the hope was that Dedmon would improve spacing in new coach Luke Walton’s offense.

After going just 2-for-11 from beyond the arc in those four games — all losses — Walton decided to make a change.

In the last of those four season-opening losses with Dedmon as the starter — a 101-94 tilt with the Denver Nuggets — Holmes finished with a 24-point, 14-rebound double-double. Walton hasn’t looked back.

While it should not come as a surprise to anyone that may have followed Holmes’ career up to this point, he brings a certain energy that others cannot match.

It has been said time and again, but playing hard is a skill and it is one that not all players have. His relentless passion and effort are part of what has endeared him to Walton.

“He continues to get better,” Walton told reporters following a 110-102 loss to the Charlotte Hornets this past Tuesday. “I think him, Cory (Joseph), and Trevor (Ariza) have done a nice job showing and leading how hard you need to play in this league.”

While the return of Marvin Bagley has cut into Holmes’ playing time, the former Phoenix Suns big man has proven far too valuable this season to see a dramatic drop in minutes.

Adjustments will be made as Bagley works off some rust and familiarizes himself with the system.

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But if Walton learns to utilize Bagley and Richaun Holmes to complement each other, it could pay significant dividends for the Kings as they try to end a 13-year playoff drought.