Imagine going from Bowling Green State, where you post a 21-12 record in your senior year at the NCAA level and then finding yourself on one of the worst NBA teams in the history of the game the next season.
That was the reality for Kings center Richaun Holmes.
During a special All-Star edition of "The Habershow" with NBC Sports’ Tom Haberstroh on Friday afternoon, Holmes discussed his early experience with the Philadelphia 76ers, a team that finished 10-72 during his rookie season in the NBA.
“It was such a shock and I think it was a shock to all of us on that team,” Holmes said. “We were all trying to find our place, find our way in the league and we didn’t really know what the NBA had in store for us.”
For a second-round pick like Holmes, nothing is guaranteed. Especially on a Sixers team that was going through “The Process.”
At this time, Philly was known for collecting assets in the form of draft picks. They selected two first-rounders and five second-round selections the year before Holmes found his way onto the roster. Holmes was one of six selections for the Sixers in 2015, including five second-round picks.
The team struggled to win, but more importantly, the battle to retain a roster spot and stick in the league became a daily battle. The only way to ensure you would survive in the league was to put in the work.
“Going out there and realizing so early how hard it was to win in this league, it just made you want to work even harder to make sure that you stayed,” Holmes said. “I think going through that experience definitely shaped and molded my NBA career into the player I am now.”
For everyone involved, “The Process” has a different meaning. All-Star center Joel Embiid has trademarked the slogan and uses it as his nickname. But for Holmes, it means something very specific.
“I think trust the process means, just continue to trust your work, trust the work you’ve put in,” Holmes said. “You might not get the results right off hand, like I said, we were losing just about every night, but I just remember the team working so hard individually to make ourselves better and I think that’s something that we knew as we continued to put the work in, the results will come.”
His early experience with the Sixers lasted a total of three seasons before he moved onto Phoenix and then Sacramento. While it’s a distant memory, the lessons learned in those three years might be the reason he still is in the league.
“We just worked so hard, continued to work, continued to work, continued to work,” Holmes said. “To this day, that’s what I do - continue to work. I think that’s a process that never gets old.”