The Dallas Mavericks have played the last three games without starting guard Josh Richardson. His hamstring injury opened the door for Trey Burke, who has taken full advantage. Does that change what fans should expect from JRich when he returns?
Richardson was amid a slump before missing three games. Since March 26, he averaged 10.2 points on 38.5 percent shooting from the field and 29.7 percent on his 3-point tries. He missed a game in Washington with a tight calf, and this absence has been forced by a tight hamstring.
The break could come at just the right time. Having a week off amid this compressed schedule might have Richardson rejuvenated and playing his best basketball of the season down the stretch and into the playoffs. Here is a closer look at what to expect from him when he returns from his hamstring injury.
What should Dallas Mavericks fans expect from Josh Richardson?
JRich has been inconsistent in his first season with the Mavs. Fans were hoping the 27-year-old would serve as a secondary playmaker and above-average 3-point shooter while improving Dallas’ defense. Richardson has arguably disappointed in all three areas. He is shooting just 31.6 percent on his threes and averaging 2.8 assists per game on the season. Richardson is not guarding the opposition’s best scorer, but he has improved the Mavericks defense.
From Feb. 1 to March 24, the 6’5 wing averaged 13.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.0 steal per game. JRich shot 47.3 percent from the field and 34.6 percent on his 3-point attempts. It is not where the Mavericks want him to be, but he showed positive signs. Dallas is hoping to get him back there before the playoffs begin.
Expect Josh Richardson to pick up the defense too. Coach Rick Carlisle will keep using Dorian Finney-Smith on the opposition’s top scorer, but JRich will get his crack at guarding at least one of the elite point guards in the Western Conference in the postseason. The Dallas Mavericks need him hitting open jumpers and playing stingy defense if they plan on pulling a first-round upset.
Mavs fans should keep a close on Josh Richardson when he returns. The hamstring injury could have been behind the cold stretch. They are also tricky injuries to manage. Hopefully, JRich stays healthy and makes a massive impact in the playoffs. Do not miss it.