Since the all-star break, Miami Heat rookie Josh Richardson has been amazing. After averaging just 1.9 points on 25% shooting from the field in his first 23 games, Richardson is averaging 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists over his last fourteen.
The Heat used the 40th pick overall to select Richardson in the 2015 NBA Draft. Scouts said that Richardson was a great defender, and he had a great shooting form that Heat head coach Erik Spoesltra liked:
Spoelstra recalls that in early-season coaching meeting, he noted Richardson's form and said "he can improve dramatically in our program."
— Ethan J. Skolnick of @5ReasonsSports (@EthanJSkolnick) March 15, 2016
Early on in the season, Richardson couldn’t crack the Heat’s rotation behind guards Beno Udrih and Tyler Johnson, and when he did play, he didn’t look very good. It was clear at times that he looked uncomfortable at times out there, but the Heat did something to really help the rookie out.
The Heat sent Richardson to the NBA Development League on December 30th and brought him up to the Heat to stay on the roster on January 11th. Richardson was able to gain the confidence in the D-League he was lacking in the NBA. The 22-year-old averaged 23.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.2 blocks for Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Richardson was confident in himself when few were struggling to find confidence in him. After Tyler Johnson went down with a shoulder injury, Richardson has had a clear lane to prove himself, especially since veteran guard Beno Udrih is now done for the year with a foot injury and no longer with Miami. It was rumored Miami could sign guys like Tony Wroten and Marcus Thornton to play ahead of Richardson in the rotation, but that never materialized.
Green is having a rough time since the all-star break. He’s averaging just 4.4 points, and 1.8 rebounds on 25% shooting from the field. Green has played in the Development League before, but you can’t send him there like you did with Richardson because some team will claim him.
My point is here, Josh Richardson can teach Gerald Green a lot. Richardson had zero confidence early on, and Gerald Green has none right now. Rookies normally don’t tell veterans what to do, but these two guys have been in similar positions this year. Richardson’s confidence was shot in the 1st half of the season, and Green’s is gone in the 2nd half.
Maybe, just maybe, Green can listen to Richardson and find some way to get his confidence up. Even when it looks like he is getting it going, Green usually can’t sustain it. Green will be key to Miami’s playoff run, and a rookie could make it all happen.
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