Mar. 21, 2017
Heat need the 2016 Josh Richardson back
Around this time last year, Josh Richardson made a big impact for the Heat. After playing spot duty minutes--11.8 per game--- before the 2016 all-star break, he shot a blistering 59 percent from outside the arc earning him Rookie of the month honors for the Eastern Conference.
Not only was Richardson hurting opponents from beyond the arc, he was making them pay inside the paint too. Whenever there was a driving lane open, Richardson would drive in the paint and finish with authority. He made plays at the rim that had players and fans alike jumping out of their seats.
The Heat would love nothing more than to get that same Richardson back. Even more now with Dion Waiters out for who knows how long. Before Sunday's game, Waiters didn't sound like a guy who's close to returning. When asked if he could return before the regular season ended, Waiters responded by saying he hopes so. Sunday's lost showed how much the Heat missed Waiters. Outside of Goran Dragic, the Heat didn't have another guard in the starting lineup who could attack the basket.
Dion Waiters says this ankle injury is worse than the last one. on crutches. Hope right now is to come back before end of regular season— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) March 19, 2017
Which is why they need Josh Richardson to regain the confidence he had in 2016.
Defensively, he's shown that same confidence when matched up against opposing guards and forwards. Offensively, its been a different story. Although he scored 10 points Sunday vs the Blazers, he was playing tentative. As seen in the video above, Richardson had no issue attacking the basket. But yesterday, there were times were he wouldn't even look at the rim. With Richardson not attacking the paint, the ball just moves around the perimeter and the Heat's shooters have to take tough shots. Basically playing right into the Portland's hands.
And that simply cannot happen if Richardson continues to start. Goran Dragic cannot be the only guard attacking the basket. There has to be someone else in the lineup. The Heat's offense thrives when it has two attackers in the lineup. Like Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic and then Tyler Johnson and James Johnson off the bench. If Richardson can somehow regain the confidence he had last year, it could help the Heat's starting unit out a lot.
Maybe it's the injuries he suffered this season that have robbed him of his confidence. But whatever the reason is he's got to get back to the guy he was last year.