Philadelphia 76ers: Cashing out on Richaun Holmes was a big mistake

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Richaun Holmes is putting up career-best numbers in the month of December. Too bad he’s doing it for the Phoenix Suns and not the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 21-12 Philadelphia 76ers are in desperate need for a solid center to back up Joel Embiid as they inch towards another postseason push.

The 7-14 Phoenix Suns have one of the best one-two young center combos in the league and are all but eliminated from the postseason in the heavily contested eastern conference.

Maybe the two teams could help each other out and make their second trade of the 2019 calendar year?

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While that’s entirely possible, the Sixers shouldn’t have put themselves in this situation in the first place, because Richaun Holmes should still be a member of the team.

Now granted, between the overseas addition of Jonah Bolden, a 2-for-1 trade for Mike Muscala and the decision to re-sign Amir Johnson, the writing was certainly on the wall that the ‘Rich Homie’ wasn’t long for the City of Brotherly Love, but as we sit now, almost halfway through the season, the 76ers are in desperate need for a tenacious rebounded capable of clogging up lanes and crashing the glass.

Holmes has been all of that and more in Phoenix.

Though he technically averaged more points back in 2016-2017, when he earned 17 starts after Embiid’s season-ending injury, Holmes has gone off thus far in the month of December, scoring in double-digits in six games in route to an imposing stat line of 11.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in 21.1 minutes of action.

Sure, those numbers aren’t exactly eye-popping, but they are a marked improvement over his season averages of 7.3 points, 4.5 rebounds in 15.1 minutes of action a night, and would rank fifth on the Sixers above everyone not named Joel, Ben, Jimmy, or Jonathan (J.J. Redick’s first name).

And the Sixers gave him away for free.

Well, not technically free, as the Suns had to give up $1 million in ‘cash considerations’ to get the deal done, but at this point, that’s hardly just compensation for a top-45 center in the NBA.

Even if Holmes were to fall back to earth and revert to his career average numbers, 7.4 points, and 4.3 rebounds in about 16 minutes of action, that would still be a significant improvement over the team’s current backup corp of Amir Johnson and Jonah Bolden, neither of whom has even sniffed double-digit scoring so far this season.

Technically Muscala could be considered a backup center as well, as he splits time between the four and the five in games where the team is playing at full strength, but he’s hardly a true rim protector, as he often gets bodied in the paint, and lacks the hops to block more than .7 shots a game.

While Holmes is also a bit undersized at 6-foot-9, he’s got some serious verticality to go with his plus-athleticism and could have been an asset both lined up alongside Embiid in a ‘two towers’ look or next to Simmons in the full court fast break.

Next. After an ugly loss, the bench can no longer be ignored. dark

Sigh, maybe its time for Elton Brand to swallow his pride, admit the team was wrong and give Phoenix a call to right one of the team’s lost trades from over the summer. Unfortunately, I think it’ll cost a whole lot more than $1 million to get Richaun Holmes back in a Philadelphia 76ers jersey.