Case for the Dallas Mavericks starting Josh Richardson
Richardson has started all 53 games he has played in this season. He came off the bench for two contests with the Philadelphia 76ers last season. Those are the only two times he has not been in the starting five in a regular-season or playoff for the last four years. Richardson is a starter in the NBA.
The 27-year-old is a better defender than both Jalen Brunson and Tim Hardaway Jr. Coach Rick Carlisle has shifted the starting lineup a few times this season. His most used group is Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, and Richardson. That is the best defensive five the Mavs have to offer.
The thing lacking in Richardson’s case to start is evidence. Those juicy stats that back it up are difficult to find. Dallas has consistently gotten off to slow starts down the stretch, which forces them to fight from behind. The Mavs have played 99 clutch minutes this season, according to NBA Stats. JRich has been on the floor for 51 of them, which is the fourth most on the team. He is seven of 13 from the field in the clutch, but Dallas has been outscored by ten points in his time on the floor.
The Mavericks need scoring in their second unit, especially when they sit Luka. They must have Porzingis, Brunson, and Hardaway Jr. in that group. That may be the only case for starting JRich. It allows Carlisle to keep those three on the floor when Doncic needs a breather. Expect the 22-year-old star to play massive playoff minutes, though.
Next: Case against starting JRich