Jason Richardson: The Veteran The Sixers Need?


Is Jason Richardson The Veteran The Sixers Need?

There is a special place in he NBA for experienced veterans, in my opinion. The Philadelphia 76ers, are a mainly younger team, that’s certainly nothing like the “aged to perfection,” San Antonio Spurs.

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While the Spurs are an example of age, other teams have utilized age on their roster, while not going completely overboard with it. I go to this example a lot, but the Washington Wizards are a great example of how to put a classic spin on a young team.

The Wizards were contending deep in the playoffs last year. They made it all the way to the second round of the playoffs and gave the Eastern Conference first place Atlanta Hawks a run for their money. In my opinion, there were three clear leaders on the team.

John Wall, with five years of experience, was and has been a clear leader to the Wizards since he joined the team in 2010. But when he went out with an injury, Bradley Beal picked things up, having games with 20+ points. Beal only has three years of experience.

There was a third leader, and his impact was obvious. He was the player getting the final shots, and the player that, more than once, was able to get these shots in the basket. Throughout the playoffs, it was clear this veteran with plenty of experience winning in the postseason was a helpful asset to both the locker room and basketball court. This player? Paul Pierce.

The Sixers don’t have a bunch of players to choose from to be a veteran leader, by any means. But one player, with his several years in the NBA really sticks out — Jason Richardson.

There’s no doubt about Richardson’s experience, with 13 years under his belt, and four years of college experience. He’s played nearly 40 playoff games throughout his career.

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Over the years, Richardson has been in the top 10 in scoring once, and is in the top 10 for three pointers among all active NBA players. These came mostly from the glory days of his career, but it does add to his resume of what he offers as far as a veteran.

Although his career certainly hasn’t had as many exciting plays since he became a member of the Orlando Magic back in 2010, his career has had some explosive, crowd pleasing moments within his 13 years.

That play wasn’t the prettiest alley-oop I’ve ever seen, but it gets the job done just as well, and in a fashion that saved the Phoenix Suns’ from losing the game, since it was one that forced overtime.

Richardson’s career statistically certainly seems to be on the decline. In every year since the 2007-2008 season, his points per game have dropped, some seasons a lot, and others just a little.


Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/7/2015.

Lots of his other stats dropped too, including his rebounds. His turnovers went from a 2.0 to a 0.8 over the course of these years, however, showing he learned the importance of protecting the rock, which is a good trait to have.

So, what does Richardson offer? As shown by the table above, his field goal percentage as well as three point percentage are certainly not shabby for a player pushing 15 years in the NBA. Shooting nearly 35%, he could be better, but it certainly could be much worse. There’s a reason he’s still playing in the league.

Richardson’s heat map is very hot in certain areas around the three point line, which is also something he brings to the table. A Shane Battier type of veteran player that can come off of the bench and hit a three that starts some momentum for the team.

Image courtesy of basketball-reference.com

Once a player who took many shots — he was in the top ten for most field goal attempts in the NBA in two different seasons — he didn’t take so many last season. Dealing with an injury, he missed a good chunk of the year, and only attempted 178 shots.

This is all nice, but Richardson isn’t even a Sixer right now. He’s currently an unrestricted free agent, and the talk around the league about teams wanting him has been small. Even in Philly, the most notable thing said about him re-signing is that he was “open to the possibility,” and that was from an article back in April. However, speaking to Philly.com, he didn’t seem to be optimistic about it, he just realized it might be one of the only places that will take him.

"“I don’t have a problem coming back here… I like every guy in this locker room, believe it or not.”"

While this sounds somewhat like he was reluctantly saying he wanted to come back, he did go on to call head coach Brett Brown one of his favorite coaches ever, so I believe it’s genuine.

The only other recent news talk about Richardson was an article published on July 11, with Philly.com again, saying:

"“The Sixers haven’t ruled out bringing back point guard Ish Smith, power forward Luc Mbah a Moute and shooting guard Jason Richardson via free agency”"

So, they haven’t ruled it out yet, which means he could be coming back. Personally, I like the move to bring him back, as he can probably be signed at a low cost, and he can offer some depth off of the bench. He also wouldn’t be hard to convince to come back to Philly, since no other teams have really seemed to pursue him.

The Sixers have to start thinking with a winning mindset. Richardson offers a veteran presence with some decent statistics to give the Sixers a push to win more games as a reserve. Why not take the stab at a veteran minimum contract?

We’d be wild to assume Richardson can put up numbers like he used to this next year, entering his 14th season. But we can expect a decent year from him, and around 10 points per game, even off of the bench, which is nice. Richardson’s veteran presence and his skill set all around is one I enjoy seeing in Philly.

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