The Miami Heat scouting and development machine continues to amaze, having churned out yet another talented prospect at a point in time in which the team needs it most.
With the Heat handcuffed in its ability to execute any roster-building trade scenarios for more than a year by a lack of tradable assets, and possessing just three total draft picks over the next six years (the bare minimum possible under NBA rules), Josh Richardson, its 2015 second-round pick, has transformed himself into a crucial roster component, validating the first-round grade placed upon him by general manager Pat Riley.
Richardson was rated 24th on the team’s draft board. The Heat snagged him with pick No. 40.
Richardson is the latest in a string of unlikely success stories that also includes undrafted guard Tyler Johnson and banished former second-round draft pick Hassan Whiteside. The prospect for success on players selected at such levels across the NBA is notoriously low, yet the Heat appears to have converted an unprecedented triple play which has the potential to lead it to a promising future.
Richardson’s story has been particularly unlikely. Not highly touted out of high school in 2011. An adequate four-year college career at Tennessee, after which most draft analysts had him being selected late into the second-round if at all. The victim of a roster crunch with the Heat that could very easily have left him without NBA work. An uninspiring first half of the first year of his pro career, during which he shot just 25.9 percent from the floor while being shuffled back and forth between Miami and Sioux Falls.
His emergence was borne primarily out of necessity. After the trade of Mario Chalmers and subsequent injuries to Tyler Johnson and Beno Udrih, Richardson’s minutes have started to soar. He now ranks seventh overall among rookies in minutes played since the All-Star break, 395, and first among second-round draft picks.
Still, to get those minutes in the game’s best league, one has to earn it.
Richardson has done just that — leading all NBA players in three-point shooting since the All-Star break at 64.1 percent, including an 83.3 percent mark versus tight defense and 60.6 percent when open. He’s hit at least one three-pointer in each of the last 10 games. Read more…