How much do you really know about Josh Richardson?
From his strengths and weaknesses to his potential fit and off-the-court hobbies, I caught up with those that covered him closely during his time with the Miami Heat, and there were several themes that stood out.
(*An asterisk denotes someone that's covered Richardson, but requested anonymity.)
Above all else, every single person I talked to raved about what a great person the Sixers are getting in Richardson. The terms "great personality," "nicest guy in the world," "unbelievable guy," were being doled out left and right.
"Josh is wide-eyed and everything is great to him. Just a good guy from [Oklahoma City] who is down to earth and is going to be everything you want in someone like that."*
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"There's also a whimsical side to him, a silly side to him."*
When you ask anyone about Richardson's game, the first word that comes to mind is his defense. "He's a great two-way player, who doesn't defensively do it with the physicality that Jimmy (Butler) does it, but he does it with quickness, with steals, deflections, playing passing lanes, plus a very good plus wingspan …"*
One person told me that by, essentially, replacing Butler with Richardson, the Sixers haven't lost anything defensively. "Great with steals, great team defender, and he probably still has a little bit in his ceiling to reach."*
"Every time I did a story on Josh and I talked to people around the league, they mentioned him as one of the best two-way players in the league, just because he plays on both ends and he was a bargain on that contract," Shandel Richardson of The Athletic said.
Fit in Miami
There was a very common theme that repeatedly surfaced regarding Richardson's fit in Miami. According to multiple people who covered Richardson, the sentiment was that Richardson was, in essence, given the opportunity to be the alpha dog in Miami, but ‘it's simply not a part of who Josh is.'*
"It was kind of unfortunate that he got thrust into a role this year, where he was kind of put as the go-to guy, and maybe he wasn't ready for that role yet," Shandel Richardson said. "People kind of looked down upon him about that. He's still got a lot of room to grow, only 25 years old. I think he's just a player that needs a little more time, that's all."
And that brings us to what you really want to know, his fit in Philly …
"Great fit." "Perfect fit in Philly." "He's the kind of player who's great for a team in a playoff race." These were the kinds of phrases I heard over and over again.
Unlike in Miami, Richardson won't be expected to be the leading scorer in Philadelphia.
"I think it's a good fit, because Philly has other players that can score the ball, and he's not going to go out and take 20-25 shots a game. Josh isn't a guy that has to do that, but he felt like he was kind of pressing last year, because he was in that role," Shandel Richardson explained. "You can slide Josh in and he can score off the ball and he's a great defender. He fits in with those guys well and I think that's why Philly went after him."
This sentiment rang true with every person I contacted that covered Richardson.
"I love the fit there for this reason: Josh Richardson was given a chance at the start of last season when Miami didn't make the trade with Minnesota (for Butler) to be the alpha. And, by the end of the season, Dwayne Wade took that role because it's simply not part of who Josh is. Josh Richardson is the perfect third or fourth wheel. I don't know where he fits in with Tobias, but he'll let Embiid get his, Simmons gets his, and then he'll be the other guy willing to do any of the dirty work."
"The Sixers are getting a player who is high effort, high energy, very good defender. His offensive game can be streaky, but when he's on a roll, he's on a roll. He can be a very effective mid-range and three-point shooter. I think he's a perfect fit for the Sixers." – Barry Jackson, Miami Herald
"I think he's the kind of player who's great for a team in a playoff race, because he'll support you, play the two, play the three, and he's played a bunch of point guard also. He played PG in his final year at Tennessee, so he certainly has that in him."*
Areas to grow
Smarter plays (and specifically a propensity to dribble out of bounds) and better shot selection did come up quite bit as areas for improvement.
He loves to DJ on the side, loves alternative rock music, grew up in a military household and still does charity work in Oklahoma.
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