Josh Richardson is very much a plug-and-play player through his five seasons in the NBA. It makes sense that Richardson was such an intriguing piece for the Mavericks to add into the wing rotation. He has the ability to shoot the ball, defend an opposing team’s best player, and pass the ball to his teammates.
“I think I bring leadership . . . toughness . . . good intangibles to these guys (the Mavericks),” Richardson said after a victory against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 15th. “I think we have a lot of good guys on this team, and I think we just needed some toughness to get us over the edge. I think that’s something that myself and James Johnson can bring.”
When the Mavericks traded Seth Curry for Richardson and second-round pick, it may have worried some fans after a simple box score gloss-over. Curry was coming off his best three point shooting season of his career, making 45.2% of his 5.0 attempts per game.
Richardson, on the other hand, had his worst shooting season in a while. He shot just 34.1% from range, the lowest since his sophomore campaign in 2016-17.
It’s been just two preseason games, but Richardson is proving that his impact goes beyond what the stat sheet suggests. As the Mavericks’ spacing continues to provide opportunities for him, Richardson has made 8-of-10 three-point attempts so far in the preseason.
“A lot of people might say what they say about my year in my Philly, but that was just kind of a tough situation for me,” Richardson said on last year’s shooting struggles. “Here, I think this fits how I play a little bit better, you know, we like to get out and run.”
As you add pieces to a championship caliber team, your team’s chemistry will always be a concern. Regardless of talent, your team’s fit together can make or break you in the playoffs. Look at the Clippers, who have on the league’s best rosters on paper. That team just barely scrapped by a one-legged Mavericks team, then blew a 3-1 lead against the Nuggets in the playoffs due to what sounds like a complete meltdown of fit among players.
When your team already has a superstar, a player’s fit with that cornerstone is also something you have to consider in acquisitions. When Curry was traded — who looked to be one of the best fits with the Mavericks on and off the court — Dallas’s brass had to be pretty confident that Richardson would adjust well.
It’s clear now that Richardson is more than just a plug and play guy on the court, but also in a locker room, as he sounds to have found a favorable situation for himself in Dallas.
“I’m a guy who’s really big on encouraging my teammates, keeping my guys involved the game, and I think everybody on this team thinks the same way.
“From a camaraderie standpoint, these guys are pretty much best of the best, one of the closest teams I’ve been on and I’ve been on some very close teams over my NBA career.”