Under different circumstances, Richaun Holmes could be a very impactful player on the Sixers. He arrived right in the middle of the logjam of Centers led by Nerlands Noel, Joel Embiid, and Jahlil Okafor. Aside from Embiid, Holmes has turned out to be the best player of that bunch. Largely due to Holmes being just a second-round pick and the Sixers having much more invested in the other 3, Richaun was unfairly shown the door.
After being traded to the Suns for cash considerations, Holmes spent the season in Phoenix and then inked a 2 year $10 million deal with the Kings. Richaun has continued to bring his energy and averaged career highs with 12.3 points and 8.1 rebounds this year. Considering Al Horford’s numbers on the year are 11.9 points and 6.8 rebounds and the team dished out over $100 million to bring him in, it isn’t a great feeling to see him be so successful in an opposing uniform.
Grant was another 2nd round pick who outplayed his expectations in the league. After playing his college ball at Syracuse, Grant flashed his shooting ability and length on defense in his time with the Sixers. 2 games into his 3rd season with the team, Grant was sent to the OKC Thunder for Ersan Ilyasova and a protected pick.
He has now made his way to the Denver Nuggets and has become a key member of the Nuggets rotation. He bounced in and out of the starting lineup this year but primarily served s the 6th man role for the team. In 40 minutes of action, Grant scored 19 points in the first playoff game against the Jazz. In total this season, Grant averaged 12 points per game and has knocked down 3’s at a respectable 39% clip.
After going undrafted in 2014, JaKarr Sampson managed to cling to a roster spot with the Sixers. He bounced back and forth to the G-League at times but flashed impressive defensive ability and a hard-nosed play-style. He was eventually waived by the team and has lived off a series of 10-day and 2-way contracts between the NBA and G-League.
Most recently, it appears as if Sampson has found a home with the Indiana Pacers. He has managed to crack his way into the Pacers playoff rotation and has provided valuable bench minutes for the team. In the most recent game, Sampson scored 10 points to go along with 3 rebounds in 17 minutes on the floor. While he is by no means a superstar, Sampson seems to have found a niche and figured out what he has to do to stick in the league and make an impact on the team he is on.
Another guy that was hurt by the logjam down low, Christian Wood never got a true chance with the Sixers. He averaged just 8 minutes per game with the Sixers and bounced back and forth to the G-League. After brief stops with the Hornets and Bucks, Wood turned a page and averaged 16.9 points per game with the Pelicans. He then signed with the Pistons this year and had solid averages of 13.1 points and 6.3 rebounds. He gained the respect of many around the league and is looked at as one of the more exciting free-agent options for this offseason.
As the ship begins to sink in this year’s season, there are plenty of options for where to place the blame. Brett Brown has more than earned the criticism that goes his way, questions on the growth (or lack thereof) on Simmons and Embiid are more than fair, but the construction of this roster has been criminal. The Sixers are missing the proper supporting cast to surround Ben and Jojo and it is even more frustrating to how many of those guys may have once been on the team. T
he growing reputation of players performing better for other teams than for the Sixers is not a great one to have, and there needs to be a longer leash and clearer direction with young players. Elton Brand and the rest of the front office have some serious problems that will need to be addressed this offseason and there is some serious soul searching that needs to be done.
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