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It’s time for the #FreeRichaun Movement

For almost no reason at all, Richaun Holmes went from important bench piece to daily inactive. He needs to be freed to hit the floor.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Richaun Holmes has mouth watering potential. He’s an athletic freak who is constantly improving something in his game, yet he has been stuck on the Sixers bench seemingly all year. Richaun is not the perfect player, but he does the necessary things well enough that he should garner some consideration for playing time over veterans like Amir Johnson and Trevor Booker. The Sixers have been strapped for competent bench players all season, and at this point it almost seems like the team is giving up on a player they have already seen have success in the league.

Brett Brown can give excuses all he wants about wanting to play larger big men against teams with stud centers, but that tactic becomes confusing with the underwhelming play of the backups. Amir Johnson has had about as up and down a year as a player can have, still searching for consistency, and while Trevor Booker has played admirably, he doesn’t provide the extra punch the Sixers need. Richaun Holmes has that punch, but Brown continues to look past it.

He’s lacking the ideal defense that a backup center needs to thrive, but Holmes can make up for it with crazy athleticism that allows him to block a shot from seemingly anywhere. His ability to run the floor like a guard and finish at the rim even through contact is something that no other Sixer brings to the table.

In his last seven games Holmes has been inactive three times and played six minutes or fewer in another two games. He received playing time down the stretch against the Nuggets because the team was missing Joel Embiid and Holmes had the hot hand, playing 19 minutes, and he received his seven game high in a mostly garbage time role in a blowout against the Pistons, playing 20 minutes. This is not the way to give a young player confidence, especially one who looks like he could be an important rotational piece. Yes, he may make an ugly play every once and a while, but it’s hard to imagine Holmes being so far behind Johnson and Booker that he can’t get any minutes at all.

Now that the #FreeJah movement is over, the #FreeRichaun movement should just be getting started, but unlike Jahlil Okafor, the only thing Richaun Holmes should be made free of is his role as one of the last guys on the bench. A team whose franchise cornerstone center still can’t play in back to back games shouldn’t shy away from giving a young, high upside player every chance he can get to make a name for himself.

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