With a new season on the horizon following an embarrassing first-round exit, Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics have made it known they want to win back their contending status while remaining financially organized for next summer.
The additions of Al Horford, Josh Richardson, and Kris Dunn and the departures of Kemba Walker and Tristan Thompson speak to that model, and it sounds like Stevens is just getting started.
His plan aside, let’s take a look at his most recent addition in Richardson.
The Boston Celtics acquired the wing for Moses Brown and their Gordon Hayward TPE, making the deal essentially a salary dump for the Mavericks.
This acquisition was made for two reasons; to add another expiring contract and to bolster Boston’s defense. Richardson’s offensive contributions will be limited and likely inconsistent, but considering he’ll likely be the C’s sixth best player overall, they can shoulder his offensive load on his inevitable off-nights.
Nevertheless, Richardson is not necessarily a liability on the offensive end. Since leaving the Miami Heat two seasons ago, it’s been evident he could have used another year or two in their development track.
Still, he’ll be walking into one of the better development tracks in Boston.
This article will look into what Richardson will and won’t provide for the Boston Celtics and how they can maximize his skill sets:
How should the Boston Celtics use Josh Richardson?
If the Boston Celtics plan on keeping J-Rich, they need to learn from the Sixers and Mavericks’ mistakes so he doesn’t experience his third-down year in a row.
It is imperative that they adhere to Richardson’s strengths and not try to limit him in a way that strips him of his confidence and, therefore, his abilities. In the past, Richardson has been thought of as a player whose role needed to be lightened, when, in reality, it just needed to be tweaked.
On offense, Richardson needs to see more possessions in pick and roll with him moving downhill. Utilizing his large frame and good enough ball skills will bode well for the entire Celtics offense as they’ll finally have some rim pressure while maintaining good perimeter standing.
When Richardson is not handling the ball, the Boston Celtics need to get him moving towards the rim or to the free-throw line instead of around the 3-point line. The more midrange attempts and layups Richardson takes, the better.
On defense, the wing should be kept as far away as possible from opposing teams’ stay guards.
Instead, he should be on the second or third best creator on the opposing team, focusing on containing his man and hunting for loose balls or careless drivers.
If the Boston Celtics can meet these precise needs, Richardson will enjoy the best season of his career, even if it is off the bench.