The NBA Draft is less than a month away, and we couldn’t be more excited about it!
60 of the best young basketball players in the world will hear their name called, as they finally realize their dreams of being drafted to the NBA. At the same time, however, players will see their dreams come to an end as they fail to walk across the stage to shake the commissioner’s hand.
With a rich talent pool this season, there are bound to be players who had great collegiate careers that don’t get drafted. It doesn’t mean they won’t ever play in the NBA, they will just have to take a detour.
This is the time of year when people try to find out as much information about players as they possibly can, so they can be familiar with whomever their favourite NBA team selects on draft day.
Yes, there will be situations like Toronto last season, when they selected Bruno Caboclo, where even the commentators were stunned at the selection. For the most part, the players selected have been household names in college, or on the international stage.
Over the course of the next month leading up to the draft, we will post a new draft preview each day that highlights a player who has a great chance to be drafted. One thing that we are doing different than other sites is not focusing on players in the first round. These players are constantly covered, and you can find information on them all over the place.
We will look at players who don’t get as much attention as they deserve, as we try to shine the light on some underrated talents in the NBA Draft. Today’s feature: Richaun Holmes, Bowling Green.
Richaun Holmes – Bowling Green Falcons
Weight: 243 pounds
Birthplace: Lockport, IL
2014-15 Stats: 14.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.6 bpg
Richaun Holmes is one of the more intriguing, and interesting, draft prospects of the 2015 NBA Draft. Holmes played one year of basketball at the JUCO level, before transferring to Bowling Green at the Division I level in the NCAA. Since his move to the Falcons, Holmes has quietly developed into one of the better power forwards in the NCAA.
Playing in the MAC has been a bit of a blessing and a curse for Holmes. Playing in a smaller conference has allowed for him to fly under the radar for most of his collegiate career. That has also been a curse, as most haven’t seen him play on a consistent basis. If he were to have received more attention over the past three years, he very well could be a player who could hear his name called in the first round come June. He wasn’t on the radar of many NBA teams about two months ago, so the fact that we are talking about him now is a sign that this kid has talent.
He took home MVP honours at the 2015 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, but was unable to keep the hot streak going at the draft combine in Chicago. However, he did block 9 shots over two games, and caused a plethora of problems for opposing big men in the combine.
So, what makes Holmes such an intriguing NBA prospect? Let’s take a deeper look at his strengths and weaknesses:
With a standing reach of 9′, and a wingspan of 7’2”, the 6’10” Holmes has a long, athletic body which he uses to his advantage on the defensive end. As shown in his performance at the draft combine, and his improved stats over the course of his collegiate career, Holmes has a big impact on the defensive end, whether it be through blocked shots or rebounding. He’s a little raw in terms of an offensive game, but his defensive presence is top-shelf stuff. If nothing else, he would make for a great role player in the NBA, and would fit into a team’s overall plan if they were in the market for an impact player on defense.
In his senior season, Holmes worked on his shooting range. He made a conscious effort to work on his long distance shooting over the course of the 2014-15 season, and it paid off. Holmes went 18-of-43 (41.9%) from three-point range last season, adding another dimension to his game in the process. If he can keep improving on his shooting, and develop a more consistent jumper, he could very well turn into a key contributor at the next level.
One thing that you can’t teach is a work ethic and playing with a high level of intensity. Holmes displays both of those. His high motor is something that NBA scouts and executives are raving about, and is likely a big factor into his draft ranking. His willingness to play at a consistently high level of intensity is something that coaches love, and will do more good than harm to him as his career progresses. He was a little slower in the second game at the draft combine, understandably so. However, he kept competing hard and battling in the paint, and that’s the type of player coaches want on their team.
In college, Holmes played the center position. In the NBA, however, he looks to be a little undersized to play his natural position. If he has to make the switch to the 4-spot at the next level, Holmes may go through some growing pains. Whoever selects him, and their fans, will have to be patient as Holmes makes the transition. As touched on above, he improved on his long-range jumper over the course of his senior season. That alone makes him an intriguing prospect at the 4-spot, but he won’t quite fit into the 5 in the NBA, unless it’s in a smaller lineup.
One other area of concern surrounding Richaun Holmes is his inconsistencies on the offensive end. While he is an above average shooter, he tends to go through dry spells. There were instances during the 2014-15 season where Holmes couldn’t buy a bucket. He also needs to add a few more post-game moves to his repertoire, which will help him become a better all-round player at the NBA level.
Where Holmes will make his mark is on the defensive end of the floor, no questions asked. He is an elite defender, and will be a nice addition to any team who nabs him in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft. If he can improve his offensive game, and impress a few teams in draft workouts over the next month, he has the potential to move up to the first few picks of the second round.