A primer on new Philadelphia 76ers guard Josh Richardson

A four-year shooting guard out of Tennessee, Richardson averaged a career-high 16.6 points per game with the Miami Heat. He shot 41.2% from the field and 35.7% from the three-point line, along with averaging a career-high 4.1 assists.

Richardson, 25, was officially traded to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday in a four-team trade that included the Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers.

The deal saw the Sixers send Jimmy Butler to the Heat in a sign-and-trade, and he will receive a four-year, $142 million max contract, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

With Richardson new in Philly, here is a primer on the facets of his game and how he would fit with the Sixers. Richardson is a quality shooter who can create off the dribble as well as defend, so he should add a wrinkle to the Sixers’ offense and defense.

Shot Creation

Richardson had an increased role with the Heat this past season, and he averaged a career-high in field goal attempts (14.1). He also averaged a career-high in three-point attempts (6.3), and he had a career-high 20.9 usage percentage.

The ball was in Richardson’s hands more, and that meant he could showcase his ability to make shots from various spots on the floor.

What Richardson does well is use his dribble, especially on ball screens, to get where he wants to go. He has a good pull up jumper, and he’s able to use it effectively in the midrange.

For the Sixers, having Richardson in the backcourt with Ben Simmons should work wonders for an offense that lacked spacing and variety this past season.

Though the Sixers had JJ Redick paired with Simmons, Redick isn’t the shot creator that Richardson is. Redick was frequently the beneficiary of dribble handoffs, and that worked well for the Sixers.

But when the playoffs came around, the Sixers’ offense wasn’t as effective because there wasn’t enough shot creation out of the backcourt. Teams kept Redick from consistently getting clear looks, and though he shot 41.4% from three in the playoffs, he shot 43.5% from the field.

Redick wasn’t good on the defensive end, with teams routinely taking advantage of him.

But he also wasn’t as effective in the Sixers’ offense compared to the regular season; teams took away Philly’s ability to drive and kick, loading the paint against Simmons since he can’t shoot well.

With Richardson coming on, he is similar to Butler in that he can get his own shot. He’s also similar in that he can facilitate and be another ball handler, which will take pressure off Simmons to be the sole playmaker in the starting lineup.

Shooting

Richardson isn’t as good a shooter as Redick, but he can still help spread the floor for the Sixers.

Though Richardson’s ability to score off the dribble is perhaps his greatest strength, his shooting ability is a close second. Richardson ranked fourth on the Heat in three-point percentage this past season, and he was second on the team in three-point attempts.

Philly could use Richardson as a spot-up shooter in different situations. Since the Sixers acquired Al Horford in free agency this summer, Richardson could benefit from Horford, who is a quality passer for his size. Horford averaged at least 4.0 assists a game in each of his three seasons with the Boston Celtics.

Horford is good at finding open players out of the post, and he could pass to Richardson and other players as he draws attention down low. The Sixers could run a high ball screen as well involving Horford and Simmons, which would create a spread pick-and-roll.

Having Richardson and Tobias Harris ready to shoot on the perimeter, with perhaps Joel Embiid ready for a dive in the dunker’s spot, would create a solid dynamic for the Sixers’ offense.

Defense and Athleticism

Richardson is a leaper, and he doesn’t just use his athleticism for dunks.

Standing at 6-foot-6 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, Richardson is a guard who can use his jumping ability to block shots in transition. Along with that, though, Richardson is also skilled at ripping the ball from players and racing down the floor to get a bucket.

 

The Sixers need better defense in their backcourt, as teams regularly dominated them on the perimeter in the regular season.

Philly struggled to defend dynamic guards who could create their own shot and shoot well. With Richardson, Philly adds a player who can stick with skilled guards because of his quickness and athleticism.

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