SACRAMENTO -- Instant chemistry.
With so many new additions, the Sacramento Kings are a work in progress. But in the team’s 105-88 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 3 of the preseason, an outline of something interesting is already forming.
Bogdan Bogdanovic and Richaun Holmes already look like a seasoned pick-and-roll tandem.
“We know Bogi is a very talented, smart, and skilled player; so pick-and-roll games with a big man, a dynamic roller like that, we had envisioned as something that could be a weapon for us, but it’s happening pretty quickly,” head coach Luke Walton said following Sacramento’s first victory of the preseason.
After tearing up the FIBA World Cup competition in China, Bogdanovic came into camp in incredible shape. He’s primed for a big season as the primary ball-handler with the Kings’ second unit and pairing him with a player like Holmes is a perfect fit.
“He’s a tremendous pick-and-roll player,” Bogdanovic said of Holmes. “He can jump like crazy. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s really crazy athleticism.”
This isn’t the first time Bogdanovic has played with an athletic roller in Sacramento. The 27-year-old Serbian worked the two-man game to perfection plenty of times with big man Willie Cauley-Stein over the last two seasons with the Kings.
Cauley-Stein left for the Warriors in free agency over the summer, but Bogdanovic sees plenty of similarities between he and Holmes.
“It’s part of my game, but (playing with) Willie also helped,” Bogdanovic said. “He’s the same type (of player) as Willie. He’s a quicker roller than Willie and he can dunk some.”
Despite limited experience together, the duo showed incredible patience when paired together. Holmes set big picks to free his guard. Bogdanovic used a variety of moves to keep his defender off balance and put the ball in Holmes hands once the defense committed his way.
“He’s such a smart player, such a high IQ player,” Holmes said of Bogdanovic. “You give him the ball and he makes things happen. I just try to get in the right spots. He tells me where he wants me and he likes to pass the ball. It’s been working so far.”
“It’s been working so far.”— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) October 11, 2019
Richaun Holmes on his chemistry with Bogi. pic.twitter.com/5l8dJDlyBg
Bogdanovic isn’t the only player on the Kings roster that is a fan of Holmes. According to Buddy Hield, he asked general manager Vlade Divac to go out and get the former Suns big man during the offseason.
“I love the way he plays,” Buddy Hield said. “He brings a lot of energy. He gets after it, and he’s that missing piece that will help you go far. He’s going to be a big part of this team going down the stretch."
“He’s that missing piece that will help you go far.”— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) October 11, 2019
Buddy jokes that he told Vlade to go get Richaun Holmes this offseason. 👀 pic.twitter.com/iwPFLvLNIW
Starting point guard De’Aaron Fox agreed with Hield’s assessment. Holmes brings something different that they were missing last season.
“He comes out, he’s going to play with energy, he’s going to block shots, he’s going to rebound,” Fox said. “You know what you’re going to get out of him. That’s one of those guys you love playing with.”
Fox is still learning the two-man game, but when he attacks the rim, having a player like Holmes down low is a huge plus.
“He keeps the other big honest,” Fox said. “If you step up, you can just go right over their head for a lob. If they don’t step up, I’m still putting pressure on the rim. That’s one thing he definitely does - he puts a lot of pressure on the rim so bigs have to make decisions.”
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It’s early, but Holmes’ play style is taking very little time to integrate into the Kings’ system. He finished Thursday’s game with 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting and chipped in six rebounds in 20 minutes of action off of Walton's bench.
The 25-year-old signed a two-year, $10 million contract with Sacramento over the summer. If he continues to develop chemistry, Holmes may end up being one of the bigger steals of the offseason for the Kings.