2. Richaun Holmes
After some rough preseason bouts and a few DNPs to start the season, it was largely assumed that Richaun Holmes would be one of Dallas’ biggest candidates to get traded on the roster. However, amidst an injury to Maxi Kleber and Dereck Lively II (for one game), Holmes has surged into Dallas’ rotation.
Holmes has only played meaningful minutes in the Mavericks' last three contests, and he’s playing his role well even if his counting stats won’t wow anyone. Holmes seems like a far-fetch of a player from the dynamic roll-cut big he was in Sacramento a few seasons ago, but he’s still stepped up for Dallas in some key moments when given the opportunity.
At the end of the game versus the Lakers, Holmes had the game-saving steal in the waning moments of the game and also finished with 10 rebounds against a lengthy Lakers team. Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd shed light on his thoughts about Holmes’ performance versus Los Angeles after the game.
"We talked about that in the locker room, I thought [Holmes] played great for us on both ends, both offensively and defensively. Again, we were going with him instead of [Powell] tonight, and I thought he responded in a positive way. He helped, he really helped us win this game tonight."- Jason Kidd
Holmes clocked just 13 minutes in the Mavericks win over the Rockets the other night, but he assumed most of the backup center minutes over Dwight Powell in Lively II’s return from injury. Holmes has been a stout defender for Dallas, but his lack of length hurts him from being a great rim protector in the traditional sense.
Holmes has proven to be one of the newer most improved Mavericks so far this season, but only time will tell if he’s able to maintain his position on Dallas’ depth chart. Given the way he’s playing right now though, perhaps Holmes could force Dallas to make an uncomfortable decision with one of their other backup big men.