Richaun Holmes has been having quite a year for the Sacramento Kings and is easily the team’s MVP so far.
The Sacramento Kings begin 2020 in a familiar place. The 15-23 squad is attempting to overcome a slow start and challenge for the eighth seed in the Western Conference. While the season has largely been defined by injury issues and disappointing losses, the King currently sit just two games out of their first postseason appearance since the 2005-2006 season.
The 2019-2020 has admittedly been a bit of a roller coaster ride. But the team is not without bright spots. The surprising breakout of starting center Richaun Holmes has been chief among the team’s positive trends. In fact, his stellar play has made him the Kings’ early season MVP.
Richaun Holmes’ Numbers
The 26-year-old big man spent the first three years of his career as a bench warmer with the Philadelphia 76ers. While he did receive more of an opportunity to see the court in his fourth season with the Phoenix Suns, he was still limited to a meager 16.9 minutes per game. His career averages of 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game seemed to have him on a path toward career irrelevance.
However, his first season in Sacramento has led to career highs across the board. Homes has rewarded the Kings for presenting him with an opportunity to record more time on the court (with a career high 29.4 minutes per game). The increase in playing time has immediately translated to overall success. The former second round pick has posted averages of 13.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks over 37 games this season. His PER of 21.29 also places him in the top 30 in the NBA.
Amazingly, Holmes currently ranks third in the league in offensive rating and field goal percentage. His offensive win share numbers (10th best overall) place him in a class with All-Star talents such as Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, and Trae Young.
Richaun Holmes’ Impact
The athletic center has developed into a phenomenal rim runner and defensive presence for the Kings. His ability to roll to the basket and finish with authority has been an excellent addition to head coach Luke Walton’s offense. His high energy style of play has also led him to become a instant fan favorite. Despite playing only a partial season in Sacramento, Homes received M-V-P chants from the faithful Golden 1 Center crowd in a recent game against the Memphis Grizzlies. While his 18 points and seven rebounds may have seemed pedestrian, fans recognized that his terrific play was key in helping the team overcome a 20-point deficit and win the game.
NBA fans outside the Bay area are also starting to take notice of Holmes’ assent. The Athletic recently published an article naming the former Bowling Green star to their “All-Surprise Team.” If he is able to continue to capitalize on his opportunity this season, Holmes may even find himself in the conversation for Most Improved Player honors.
Sacramento fans hope that Holmes’ stellar play will be enough to catapult the franchise into the postseason. However, regardless of the team’s overall performance, Holmes has clearly established that he is capable of thriving at the NBA level.
His contract, which will cost the team just $9.7 million over the next two seasons, also adds to his overall value. Not only has he producing at a near All-Star level, but he allows the team maximum financial flexibility to build out their roster.
Kings fans should look forward to seeing Holmes finishing alley-oops and protecting the paint in the purple and white for many years to come. If we’re lucky, we’ll even get to hear more M-V-P chants directed at the fan-favorite.