Is Clint Capela Any Better Than Richaun Holmes?

(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Clint Capela is on the trade block and Sacramento has been reported interested, but the Kings have a big of their own providing comparable value at a friendlier price.

It is that week of the season when trade rumors are flying out left and right, many of us jumping to our phones every time there is a new twitter notification. The Sacramento Kings were rumored to be sellers with the likes of Dewayne Dedmon, Nemanja Bjelica, and potentially Bogdan Bogdanovic. Recently, they were linked to Houston Rocket’s big Clint Capela by The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski. 

Sacramento currently has its own version of Capela in Richaun Holmes, and Holmes doesn’t optimize the skillsets of Marvin Bagley. That is my entire struggle with this idea. How much more beneficial is Capela than Holmes? Enough to merit additional assets? The numbers could even argue in favor of Holmes this season, and Capela is merely one year younger.

How Would He Fit?

The Kings seem to agree with the fit concerns, evident by Bagley logging 88% of his limited minutes this season at the center position (per basketball-reference) and the former number two overall pick has played just 8% of his total minutes this season alongside Holmes. There is not too much stock to be put into these numbers considering the minuscule sample size, but Bagley does not effectively space the floor and I don’t see him growing into anything more than a mediocre shooter from range.

With De’Aaron Fox on the roster as the focal point, you can’t surround him with two bigs who work best down low and expect optimal utilization of his talents. Richaun Holmes could remain on the Kings’ squad as a bench spark plug, similar to the often-compared Montrezl Harrell of the Clippers. Capela would likely need to be starting if Sacramento were to pull the trigger on a trade for the Swiss big.

As mentioned previously, Holmes could just be better (and cheaper) now than Capela, who will still have three years on his contract after this season, increasing from roughly $16-million to $18-million in 2022-23.

Capela has declined this season because he fares better in a James Harden half-court offense rather than Russell Westbrook‘s aggressive high pace. Westbrook and Fox are comparable and Sacramento’s offense has picked the pace back up, finishing January 10th in that category.

Statistical Similarities

There is nothing but marginal differences between both of these players offensively. Holmes has a somewhat notable 3% advantage over Capela in field goal percentage this season and added versatility to his individual offensive game solely due to the elite push shots Holmes possesses. Capela holds an advantage in setting screens over Holmes, and the offensive end about evens out.

As for the defensive end, Capela has an advantage. He averages about a quarter block more per-36 and has better switchability, although opponents shoot every so slightly better within 6ft against Capela than Holmes. Again, the differences are not significant on this end of the ball either.

Capela does hold a clear edge in rebounding, an area where Sacramento has struggled for years now. Per-36, Capela average 15.1 rebounds per game compared to 10.4 from Holmes, but if Bagley can ever remain healthy, he should be of benefit there and that advantage isn’t worth what it would cost to obtain Capela from Houston.

Not to mention that Capela currently has what the Rockets are calling a “heel injury”, but have concerns that it could be plantar fasciitis, perThe Athletic’s Kelly Iko. He will be out until at very least the All-Star Break, and Houston’s head coach Mike D’Antoni noted it “could linger, could be a while.”

Richaun Holmes and Clint Capela truly are close enough to the equivalent player that a trade involving the both of them has no benefit for Sacramento. Factor in that Holmes is about $11-million cheaper next season and neither of them fits alongside what is the future of the Kings’ frontcourt in Marvin Bagley and the deal turns into a hard no from me.

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There will be other opportunities for Sacramento to improve in the longterm before this Thursday’s looming deadline, but Clint Capela is far from the answer.