What do the Dallas Mavericks need from Josh Richardson?
The Mavs need Richardson to vastly improve in two areas if he decides to opt-in. He must return to being at least a capable 3-point shooter, and the team needs to make him defend better opponents.
Let’s start with the 3-pointers. Richardson is shooting 26 percent from the corners this year, which is an aspect of his game where improvement could make a key difference as Luka Doncic’s shot creation is among the league’s best. JRich’s highest success rate from beyond the arc is from the left of the key, where he averages 36.7 percent.
Doncic desperately needs a guard next to him who can be a playmaker at a high capacity. Although Richardson is far from a playmaking shot-creator, assuming Dallas makes a big splash this offseason, a return to form from beyond the arc for Richardson can still secure him a spot off the bench to provide valuable buckets.
Defensive versatility has to be a net positive of Richardson’s minutes if he’s going to help the Mavericks win. Dallas is 14-14 this season against teams under .500, which is unacceptable to say the least for any team serious about contending in the playoffs. The Mavs recently suffered a deflating loss to the Sacramento Kings without DeAaron Fox in which Richardson’s defense was a drawback rather than a boost for the team.
There hasn’t been a game where his iso defense has prevented the other team from a win. With Porzingis missing so much playing time, Richardson’s had the opportunity to become a defensive force and simply hasn’t.
Next: Where to go from here