On Tuesday, Dallas fans got to hear from new Maverick Josh Richardson for the first time during the team’s media day. He arrives having spent the past season in Philadelphia following four in Miami previously. Having been traded once already in his fairly young career, he’s no stranger to the so-called “business side” of the NBA and the potential to find yourself suddenly playing for a new team unexpectedly. Now, while Richardson was too polite to say so outright, the general consensus was that the 76ers were not a team constructed in a way to get the most out of a player like Richardson.
To that end, he had this to say about finding himself traded to Dallas.
“I kinda had an idea that something was going to happen, but, ya know, it was between a few teams, so I wasn’t really sure.” Richardson, who was fairly even keeled during his press conference couldn’t stifle a smirk at this point, and continued, “but I’m really glad I ended up here.”
When all we see is the trade in its final form, it can be easy to forget all the behind the scenes machinations that never see the light of day. I’m no body language expert, but it certainly seems to me that, of the teams Richardson was faced with joining, Dallas was among his top picks. Organizationally, Dallas is certainly much closer to Miami, where he flourished, than Philly where the roster and organization are both in flux.
“Coming here, it’s going to be a different look for myself. You know, I think that it’s a different play style. I think that it kind of fits me more.”
Some of that optimism might be derived from the opportunity to play alongside Luka Doncic, who Richardson actually met when Doncic was only 16. They were both in Santa Barbara, California to train, and the two found themselves facing off in some pickup games. Doncic must have made an impression.
“I came back to Miami and told some of my best friends, I was like ‘yo, I just met this kid. He’s going to be the first pick in the draft,’” said Richardson. “I still think he should’ve been, but he’s lived up to my expectations so far, and more.”
Richardson acknowledged Luka’s on-court offensive gravity, saying of his own role, “I think I can kind of take some of the defensive pressure off of him. The other team’s best guard, I’ll usually be picking up so he can just get in where he fits in on defense and handle what he has to on offense.”
After a season where the Mavericks set historic offensive numbers but saw games slip away in crunch time due to lack of defensive fire power, this has to be music to many fans’ ears. (And probably also Dorian Finney-Smith’s, now that you mention it.) The front office appeared singularly focused on addressing the team’s defensive shortcomings with the moves it made in free agency and the draft, so Richardson signaling that he’s ready and willing to be that kind of player bodes well.
As a professional basketball player, Josh Richardson seems like just the kind of piece this team was missing last year.
And as for Josh Richardson’s “NBA players; they’re just like me!” quotient, he’s straight As there, too.
“I sleep a lot.” He said. “I’m easy. I’m not a big high-strung guy off the court. I don’t always have to be doing something. I can sit still for hours and be content.”
Ah, sitting still for hours. I’ve never felt more seen.