With Dwyane Wade beginning to age, the Miami Heat have begun searching for his potential replacement. With that in mind, they selected Tennessee guard Josh Richardson in the second round of the 2015 draft. Richardson was a late bloomer in college, who upped his average from 10 points his junior year to 16 points per game in his senior year and became one of the better guards in college basketball. The Heat like Richardson because of his size and defensive ability. He also developed as an offensive player over the course of his collegiate career and developed a consistent outside shot. Miami was also looking for a shooting guard to take some minutes away from Wade during the regular season, but Richardson will have to grow into that role. He had a relatively inconsistent summer league performance. He shot the ball well from three but struggled from the field overall, shooting under 40 percent. He had a tendency to force some poor shots and as a shooting guard he does not look to get his teammates involved often enough. Richardson did do a solid job on the defensive end and was able to force a good amount of steals, using his length. He played ten summer league games and scored double digits in six. He saved his best performance for last as he poured in 23 points in his final summer league game.
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The large amount of games gave the Heat a good chance to look at him and decide if they can use him this upcoming season. Richardson is still unsigned, but it looks as if he will likely earn one of the last few roster spots in Miami. The Heat lost LeBron James just over a year ago, but have already built another championship caliber team going into next season. For this reason, Richardson may be at the end of the bench to stay for the majority of the season. The free agent acquisition of Gerald Green will also hurt Richardson. Green will likely serve as the back-up shooting guard and is already a proven scorer off the bench. Richardson probably showed enough during the summer to stick around on the 15 man roster but Miami will look to develop him with a long term goal in mind. Richardson could have a bright future as a shooter/defender and his 6’6” frame makes him a handful for opposing shooting guards.
He has a wiry frame and could use extra muscle to play with stronger NBA players. More muscle would also help on the defensive end where he already has good length. Shot selection would be another area for Richardson to work on, in order to earn the trust of coach Erik Spoelstra. The Heat cherish defensive ability as an organization and that alone could keep Josh Richardson in south beach for years to come. He landed in a good place and will just have to continue to develop his game.
Graphic via draftexpress