Case against the Dallas Mavericks starting Josh Richardson
The Mavs want to put floor spacing and defense around Luka Doncic. That is their optimal configuration for success. Richardson has not offered either this season. He is shooting just 32.7 percent from 3-point range. The 27-year-old has not done a ton of ball handling or playmaking either.
Richardson’s on/off production speaks volumes. The Mavericks have an offensive rating of 114.3 for the season, which is the eighth-best in the NBA. It drops to 113.2 when Richardson is on the floor. Their defensive rating with JRich is 114.2, but that number falls to 106.4 when he heads to the bench. The Mavs have a negative 1.1 net rating with Richardson on the court, and a positive 6.7 net rating when he is on the bench.
Defense is difficult to quantify. Richardson has all the tools of a plus option. He has done well against some elite scorers, but the numbers say Dallas is significantly worse with JRich on the floor this season.
Starting the game is an easy way for the coach to give someone additional playing time. The six minutes before the first substitution can be a separator between playing 30 minutes or 25 on the night. Carlisle should roll with his best five-man lineup to open the game in the playoffs. So far this season, that has not included Josh Richardson.
Next: Should they start JRich?