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Dallas Mavericks: Josh Richardson struggles in return vs. Jazz

Dallas Mavericks Josh Richardson (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks Josh Richardson (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
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The Dallas Mavericks have dealt with a host of COVID issues early in the 2020-2021 season. They only had one game postponed, though. The Mavs were forced to play with as many as five players sidelined in the health and safety protocols. Dallas is finally getting healthy.

Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Dwight Powell all returned against the Jazz on Jan. 27. Maxi Kleber remains out, but Dallas was otherwise healthy against the Jazz.

JRich missed nine straight games and 20 days of action. It was fantastic to see him back on the floor, but the 6’5 guard struggled in Utah. Let us take a closer look at his performance and where he needs to improve moving forward.

More. Mavs starting lineup and rotation when healthy

Josh Richardson struggles as Dallas Mavericks fall to Utah Jazz

Richardson earned the start on Wednesday night. It was the first time all season that the Mavs had their projected starting five on the floor. JRich drew the assignment of guarding Mike Conley. The Jazz wreaked havoc on the Mavericks in the pick and roll. Conley had 17 points and six assists as Rudy Gobert went off for 29 points and 20 rebounds.

The Mavericks need Richardson defending well at the point of attack, but he struggled on Jan. 27. The long layoff played a factor. The 6’5 guard is a proven defender that should excel in that role when back to full strength.

JRich did not have his jumper locked in, but it was positive to see him get to the rim and finish inside with Gobert lurking in the first quarter.

https://videos.nba.com/nba/pbp/media/2021/01/27/0022000282/43/9527992d-fe56-b789-1a30-d79ba6c2f987_1280x720.mp4

The Mavericks need more from Richardson on the offensive end of the floor. He can score at all three levels. JRich missed his only 3-point attempt and did not have an assist in the game. The 27-year-old needs to find his jumper, so Dallas can space the floor for Luka Doncic to attack.

Richardson finished with six points, two rebounds, one steal, and one turnover in 24 minutes of action on Wednesday night. He was three of seven from the field, and the Jazz outscored the Mavericks by 11 points during his time on the floor.

Do not draw any permanent conclusions from Josh Richardson’s first game back. He missed significant time in quarantine and is still finding his legs on the floor. The Dallas Mavericks play the Jazz in Utah again on Friday night. Expect improvements from JRich. The Mavs have the potential to be an elite team. Wednesday’s game was the first step in that journey. Stay tuned.

Next. Re-grading the Kristaps Porzingis trade after 2 years

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