Dallas Mavericks roster breakdown: Josh Richardson
Richardson was the Mavs’ biggest acquisition in the offseason. They traded Seth Curry, one of the best pure shooters in the NBA, for JRich and a second-round pick. The hope was Richardson would be the prototypical 3-and-D wing for the Mavericks. Dallas needed a defensive upgrade, so they sacrificed some shooting to fill the hole.
The blueprint for the Mavs building around Luka was simple. They planned to hide his defensive flaws by surrounding him with physical stoppers and accentuate his offensive gifts by giving him capable spot-up shooters to space the floor.
While it was to be expected for Richardson to be a tier below Curry in shooting, no one saw it being this bad. He is shooting 42.3 percent from the field and a career-low 29.6 percent from three in his first 19 games as a Maverick. Dallas is a better spacing team than either of Richardson’s previous two homes, Miami and Philadelphia, making this sharp decline mind-boggling.
What’s worse is that the defensive prowess Mavs fans hoped for has not been evident either. There have been moments where he has been effective, but Richardson is posting a career-worst defensive rating (third-worst on this Mavs squad), averaging more fouls than ever before, and posting a negative plus-minus for the first time in his career.
The argument can be made that he hasn’t found his rhythm or chemistry yet, and one could give him a pass for that. The two-week absence in the health and safety protocols did not help. Richardson better find his footing soon, or else it would be wise of the Mavs to explore suitors for him and the $11.6 million they owe him next season if he accepts his player option.