Richaun Holmes

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Simmons, Fultz

He may not be touted as one of their future franchise cornerstones but Richaun Holmes played a significant role in the Sixers‘ improvement in 2016/17. Holmes, a backup power forward-turned-starting center after injuries hit, spoke with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype about his future with the organization.

I can be so much better. So much better,” the 23-year-old Sixers big said. “I think I’m just scratching the surface of my potential. With the things I’m working on now, the way I’m feeling now and where my head is at now, I’m definitely maturing as a player and as a man.”

The soon-to-be third-year Sixers center is working on improving his pick-and-roll defense and jump shot this summer.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • In the aforementioned Alex Kennedy interview, Richaun Holmes had this to say about Sixers 2016 draft pick Ben Simmons: “Man, I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest. To be 7-feet tall and be able to move the way he does and have that skill set, I’ve never seen anyone like him. And I think the thing that stands out most to me is just how hard he plays.
  • Any Nets fans in the mood for an excruciating hike up memory gorge will be pleased to see that Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reviewed, in detail, the infamous trade that sent four first-round draft picks from the Brooklyn to the Celtics.
  • A Nets Daily tweet reminds followers that the Nets will likely get the Pacers‘ 2019 second-round pick, something that ought to gain value if Paul George is half-way out the door in Indiana.
  • There are plenty of reasons for the Sixers to be excited about Markelle Fultz but one of the biggest is the sheer number of needs he will be able to meet in Philadelphia. Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes about head coach Brett Brown and the boxes Fultz will tick for the franchise.

Sixers Notes: Okafor, Brown, Colangelo, Embiid

Center Jahlil Okafor wasn’t among the players identified as “keepers” for next season by Sixers coach Brett Brown in a news conference today. Brown listed Ben Simmons, Joel EmbiidTimothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes, Robert CovingtonDario Saric, Nik Stauskas and T.J. McConnell, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Okafor was the subject of numerous trade rumors prior to February’s deadline. and his future with the organization remains uncertain. Brown said Okafor understands this is an important offseason for him (Twitter link), adding, “Our mission this summer is to get his body right.” (Twitter link). GM Bryan Colangelo, who also spoke to reporters today, didn’t say that trading Okafor will be a priority, but he noted, “If a deal comes along that makes sense for both, we’ll listen.” (Twitter link).

There’s more today out of Philadelphia:

  • Brown and Colangelo both identified shooting as the Sixers’ most pressing offseason need. Brown said the team also needs to find a backup power forward, sign some veterans, assess Simmons’ abilities as a point guard and find the right shooting guard to play alongside him, tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.
  • Brown added that early-season injuries to Simmons and Jerryd Bayless were the biggest obstacles the Sixers faced in their 28-54 season (Twitter link). Simmons fractured a bone in his right foot during training camp and missed the entire year. Bayless, who signed a three-year, $27MM deal last offseason, tore a ligament in his left wrist during camp and was limited to three games. “You felt like you just blew out your backcourt in about a week,” Brown said.
  • The Sixers are expecting a much healthier version of Embiid next season, Pompey tweets. After missing his first two NBA seasons, Embiid was limited to 31 games in his rookie year. Although he played spectacularly, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game, Embiid was on a minutes restriction and Philadelphia’s medical staff was very cautious about his availability. “I don’t think back-to-backs will be an issue” for Embiid next season, Colangelo said.
  • Colangelo promises an aggressive approach in free agency, saying, “If there is the right free agent to spend money on, we will.” (Twitter link). The Sixers will enter the July bidding with more than $50MM available under the salary cap. Colangelo also vowed to be “prudent and wise” with any signings (Twitter link).

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Anderson, Rose

The Sixers may have found a long-term backup to injured big man Joel Embiid in 2015 second-round pick Richaun Holmes. Holmes, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, has thrived given the chance to fill in and step into a larger role.

Holmes has averaged 13.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in just 25.9 minutes per game since the All-Star break, about twice what he contributed for the Sixers prior to it.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown acknowledges the improvement and thinks that Holmes’ success could be here to stay. “I think a lot of the good teams have those lightning-in-the-bottle players that can just change a game,” Brown said. “You know, initially, you are wondering can he be one of those. Is he a duration player? I think since he’s come into the starting five, you are recognizing that there’s more durability.”

  • If the Knicks decide to release Derrick Rose, it will free up $18MM in cap room for them to find a point guard or draft one this offseason. As Bobby Marks of the Vertical explains on Twitter, the pending free agent otherwise has a $30MM cap hold set for this summer. Earlier today we wrote about Rose missing the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus.
  • Though the refs assigned Kyrie Irving a flagrant foul for his shove on Sixers forward Justin Anderson Friday night, the victim doesn’t take it personally. “He was just protecting his teammate, I think he saw LeBron James went down [on the previous play],” Anderson told Joe Noga of Cleveland.com.
  • Second-year forward Justin Anderson is getting his best opportunity to show the Sixers what he’s capable. Anderson has seen his role increase now that Robert Covington has been ruled out for the remainder of the season, writes Brian Seltzer of the Sixers’ official website. “My job is to go out there and make the most of it,” said Anderson. “It’s not to try and become All-Star in this little bit of time. My job is to show that, no matter what, this team can rely on me, I can be consistent, and bring the energy playing defense, rebounding the basketball, and then contributing on offensive end in many different ways.
  • The Celtics have been a model team for rebuilding clubs looking to turn their fates around, Taylor C. Snow of the Celtics’ official site writes. Rival Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek cites the roster full of hard-nosed guys as one of the major reasons behind their success.

Jahlil Okafor, Robert Covington Done For The Season

The Sixers announced they have shut down Jahlil Okafor and Robert Covington for the season’s remaining seven games (Twitter links). Okafor had been sidelined with right knee soreness, an ailment “exacerbated by impact in game at OKC.” Meanwhile, Covington suffered a slight tear of his lateral meniscus.

With the Sixers out of the playoff picture, there was little reason to ask Okafor and Covington to play through injuries. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Nik Stauskas can expect to see a bump in minutes while Covington recuperates, and Shawn Long will receive time at center alongside Richaun Holmes.

The short-handed Sixers will face Cleveland at 7:30pm EDT.

Sixers Notes: Saric, Holmes, Okafor

Consider Dario Saric and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot a testament to the benefit of players developing in Europe. Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently published a column about how the Sixers’ pair gained more from their experiences abroad than they would have in a single year with an NCAA program.

Their background in European system and style, et cetera, completely helps them be expedited when they enter an NBA court,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown told him, “unlike a one-and-done guy from Kentucky or Duke.”

Past and present big men Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, of course, are one-and-done guys from Kentucky and Duke.

Hayes argues that Saric and Luwawu-Cabarrot have a maturity and toughness that has allowed them to excel this season. The former has put up 19.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game since Feb. 9 while the latter has added 7.6 points per despite only getting promoted to the starting lineup on March 11.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The solid play of Richaun Holmes has validated the Sixers’ decision to ship Noel off to Dallas, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Noel posted 24 points and 9 rebounds twice in his 171 game stay with Philadelphia, Holmes has done it twice in the past ten days.
  • Though he’s missed action with a sore knee, the Sixers have no plans to shut down Okafor for the remainder of the season. Head coach Brett Brown suggested to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer that doing so would over-dramatize the injury.
  • Don’t get it twisted — while the current executive staff is getting a lot of credit for the upstart Sixers, the Iceberg Theory of Success is applicable. Josh Wilson of Fansided’s The Sixers Sense explains.

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Embiid, Crowder

Add one more intriguing young big man to Philadelphia’s seemingly endless frontcourt log jam. Which is a good thing, we suppose.  The improved play of 2015 second-round pick Richaun Holmes of late has ignited conversation that not only could the Sixers have their backup center of the future, but – per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer – a possible starter.

In the Sixers’ last five games, Holmes has averaged 14.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.8 steals per game – or roughly 22.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per 36 minutes. What’s more, the Sixers have won three out of those five to boot.

You can count on him,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said of the 23-year-old. “Those effort, energy sort of type things are the reliable part of his game. The other things [three-point shooting, making open 18-footers] at times are outliers and really tip him over the top when he starts doing those other things.

Pompey isn’t the only local reporter to praise the upstart second-year big man. Jessica Camerato of CSN Philadelphia spoke with teammate Justin Anderson about Holmes recent play for the Sixers.

He’s a beast,” Anderson said. “I’ve [seen] that for a while. I remember watching him in summer league. He plays extremely hard, and then now he’s shooting the three, his ability to just dunk on people. He’s really good. He’s a really good player. I’m happy for him. When he gets going like that, we’re a tough team.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Injured Sixers rookie Joel Embiid is back in Philadelphia while the information from his time rehabilitating his knee in California is reviewed. Jessica Camerato of CSN Philadelphia tweets that there has been no timetable for the next steps.
  • That rebounder the Celtics were said to desperately need could very well be right under their nose. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England suggests that forward Jae Crowder could be just that. Blakely writes that Crowder has averaged 7.7 rebounds per game since the All-Star Break.
  • Both Brett Brown and Brad Stevens were hired as head coaches four years ago but the rebuilding processes that the Sixers and Celtics have taken ever since differ, Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Cooney suggests that the C’s have had the leg up all along because they started with a better base.

 

Sixers Notes: Saric, Okafor, Noel

Although a crowded frontcourt has kept the Sixers in the spotlight through the first four months of the NBA season, there are other concerns that the Philadelphia franchise will have to address heading forward. Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer decided to shine a light on some of the less discussed roster dynamics in a recent column.

One of the biggest questions that Sixers head coach Brett Brown will have to answer as the roster formally evolves from rebuilding project to actual Eastern Conference contender is what to do at the power forward spot. Currently the club starts veteran Ersan Ilyasova with rookie Dario Saric slotted in as his replacement off the bench. Saric’s play of late, however, has warranted more playing time. In nine February games, Saric has averaged 15.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

Considering the progress that the Croatian has made, general manager Bryan Colangelo will need to determine whether he trusts Saric enough to let the 29-year-old Ilyasova and his expiring $8.4MM walk this summer. Another challenge the club’s brass will have to face is to truly assess the value of backup big man Richaun Holmes. Holmes has impressed, averaging nearly 15 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes, but it’s unclear whether the team would be comfortable with him as Philly’s primary backup center.

Another thing that the Sixers will have to address in the near future is adding perimeter offense. It’s imperative, Cooney writes, that the team add shooters who can open the floor for Joel Embiid and eventually Ben Simmons.

There’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Although nothing has transpired yet, there have been plenty of trade talks surrounding Jahlil Okafor. Although the second-year center’s name has come up in rumors all season long, he was held out of two games last week as the franchise engaged in discussions with “10 or 11 teams”. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Okafor grew up playing against Anthony Davis of the Pelicans and would be particularly interested in playing in his hometown for the Bulls. Both New Orleans and Chicago are among the teams with whom Philadelphia has discussed a possible trade.
  • For what it’s worth, Joel Embiid believes that the Sixers could utilize all of their assets, including Jahlil Okafor. As Pompey writes in a separate Philadelphia Inquirer piece, Embiid suggested as much on Saturday. “We got a lot of talent, and I feel we can use everybody if we want to get to where we want to,” Embiid said.
  • Once at the center of trade rumors, Sixers center Nerlens Noel has noticed a change in culture, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. “It’s a lot more fun, a lot more enjoyable, and it honestly feels like a whole new culture,” Noel said. The big man is aware of the logjam at his position, however. “[Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and I] are all genuine, and we’re all young men who just want to play well in this league and see each other do well at the same time.”

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Celtics, Nader, Knicks

Richaun Holmes was removed from the Sixers‘ rotation last month after Nerlens Noel returned to the court, but Holmes has been back in the lineup this week and has looked good — he scored 18 points on Tuesday, then grabbed eight boards to go along with nine points on Wednesday. As John Smallwood of The Philadelphia Daily News writes, Holmes is making a case that he might be an ideal backup for Joel Embiid.

While he isn’t necessarily as talented as Noel or Jahlil Okafor, Holmes also wasn’t a top draft pick, and didn’t come with the same expectations as the Sixers’ other bigs, making him a better fit as a backup. In the view of Jake Fischer of Liberty Ballers (Twitter links), Holmes’ trade value is also very much on the rise, given his extremely favorable contract. As Fischer notes, that doesn’t necessarily mean Holmes will be moved, but teams will likely inquire on the big man, who is under contract through 2018/19 on a minimum salary deal.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • In the wake of a report suggesting the Knicks have reached out to the Celtics to gauge their interest in Carmelo Anthony, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe argues that the Knicks forward isn’t the right fit for the C’s. Acquiring Anthony wouldn’t help shore up Boston’s defense, and would significantly limit the team’s flexibility to pursue free agents going forward, Himmelsbach writes.
  • The Celtics are taking a unique approach with the development of 2016 second-round pick Abdel Nader, writes Chris Reichert of The Step Back. Nader appears to be the top candidate for the NBA D-League’s Rookie of the Year honors, and may get an opportunity to crack Boston’s NBA roster in 2017/18.
  • Brett Koremenos of RealGM.com takes a closer look at the Knicks in an attempt to determine why the team’s current roster has disappointed, and what steps the club should take going forward.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/21/17

Here are the D-League transactions for the day:

  • The Suns have recalled Derrick Jones Jr. from their D-League affiliate, the team announced via Twitter. Jones Jr. has averaged 14.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in 18 games in the D-League.
  • The Thunder have recalled Josh Huestis and Semaj Christon from their affiliate in the D-League, according to a press release issued by the team. The pair have averaged 18.7 points and 14.2 points respectively during their stints in the D-League.
  • The Sixers have recalled big man Richaun Holmes, tweets Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Holmes hasn’t played in an NBA game since suffering a concussion on December 14.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/13/17

Here are the D-League moves from throughout the NBA today:

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