The Los Angeles Lakers made a relatively surprising move on Saturday, reportedly agreeing to a partially guaranteed contract with undrafted forward Jonathan Holmes from Texas. The Lakers already have 12 players under contract, as well as two players (J. Brown and T. Black) on non-guaranteed deals, and Robert Upshaw agreeing to a deal that has not yet been signed.
Holmes is another very intriguing prospect who rated as their 24th-best prospect. Though making the roster is far from a guarantee Holmes has a lot of tools to work with. For those not familiar with Holmes from his days with the Longhorns, lets take a look at exactly what the Lakers are getting.
There isn’t one thing that Holmes does exceptionally well, but he is really good at a lot of things on both ends of the court.
First and foremost, Holmes has excellent size for a small forward and, at 6’9 and 242 pounds, can even slide over to play some small-ball power forward, something he excelled at in college. Versatility is extremely important in today’s NBA and Holmes’ ability to play both forward spots effectively is a plus.
His experience playing both down low and on the wing has allowed him to develop many ways to score. He is a solid spot-up shooter who can get hot when his feet are set. At the NBA Draft Combine he made 17 of his 25 three-pointers during the spot-up drill, second best among all prospects. He can be streaky at times (33% from deep as a senior), but he has consistent mechanics, and his free throw percentage is good enough to give hope that he can be more consistent from deep regularly.
He can also take advantage of smaller defenders down low with decent footwork on the block and enough athleticism to shoot over the defense. While it isn’t his strongest suit, Holmes is able to attack defenders off the dribble when they close out too hard. He isn’t an excellent creator for himself or others off the dribble, however, but is fine in a straight line.
Holmes is also a very good rebounder, especially as a small forward. He averaged 6.1 rebounds as a senior (7.2 as a junior) and does a great job of attacking the offensive glass averaging over two per game for his career at Texas. He has a high motor and shows great instincts in following the ball off the rim and rebounding outside of his area.
Defensively is where Holmes can really shine as he has the size and quickness to hang with most small forwards in today’s NBA while being able to bang with power forwards as well. He is a willing defender who is physical, competitive, and very high energy.
Holmes is also a pretty good shot blocker thanks to his length and athleticism, averaging over a block in each of the last two seasons. He has good hands which allows him to come up with steals as well and he has no problems putting his body on the line at any point.
One of the more consistent players on the Boston Celtics’ Summer League team, Holmes averaged 10 points, five rebounds and just under one assist, block, and steal in eight games. He had a 15-point, 10-rebound performance against Philadelphia and a 15-point, seven-rebound, two-block performance against Portland, putting his versatility on full display.
Who knows if Holmes will wind up on the final 15-man roster, but the Lakers have now brought in another talented prospect who could add to the young core the team is beginning to establish. The Lakers could be getting a nice steal in Holmes.[divide]