Remember when there was a question of whether Richaun Holmes or Amir Johnson should be the Sixers’ backup center behind Joel Embiid?
It feels like a long time ago, but it’s only been about a year and a half since the Sixers traded Holmes to the Phoenix Suns. The 26-year-old is now with the Sacramento Kings, and he’d been having the best season of his NBA career (13.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.4. blocks per game) before suffering a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
On Friday, Holmes joined NBC Sports national NBA insider Tom Haberstroh on the Habershow podcast.
He reflected on his stint with the Sixers, which began in the heart of then-general manager Sam Hinkie’s Process.
Holmes has positive memories of Hinkie.
“Sam was great,” he said. “I remember when I went to sign my contract, I had my entire family with me. He spent time, talked to each one of my family members, got to know them a little bit. I feel like Sam really cared, and Sam took the time to really help me adjust to the NBA.”
The Sixers went 10-72 in the 2015-16 season, Holmes’ rookie year. They didn’t win a game until December.
“It was such a shock,” Holmes said, “and I think it was a shock to all of us on that team because 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.
“And so 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 stick. I think going through that experience shaped and molded my NBA career into the player that I am now.”
Holmes said he’s still guided by his personal definition of the Process.
I think the Process means continuing to trust your work — trust the work you put in daily,” he 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. I think that’s just something we knew — if we continue to put work in, the results will come. … And to this day, that’s what I do, continue to work. That’s a process that never gets old.
A constant for Holmes during those early years in Philadelphia was Embiid, who spent his first two NBA seasons sidelined by injury.
“He was a super hard worker,” Holmes said. “That’s one thing I don’t think people talk about with him enough. He works so hard just to get himself in shape, get himself physically ready to step on the court. He wanted to play so badly every day that I saw him. Behind the scenes, he’s such a hard worker, makes sure he keeps his body right, and he wants to play for a long time — and he takes the precautions.”
You can listen to the full podcast below. The conversation with Holmes begins at 41:50.
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