Although the addition of Andrew Bynum has deservedly dominated headlines of Philadelphia media in the wake of last week’s big blockbuster, Andrew wasn’t the only player the team acquired that could have a major impact this season. If healthy, Jason Richardson has an opportunity to revitalize his career with the Sixers, as well as play a prominent part in the first season of the Bynum era here in Philadelphia.
While he may not be the athlete he once was when he was soaring to back-to-back slam dunk championships, Richardson still has significant basketball abilities. His mainly skill as we know is shooting the ball and shooting it well. That should prove to be a valuable asset to a young Sixer squad with suddenly high expectations. Many have all but written off Richardson after an underwhelming, injury-plagued stint in Orlando, but there’s reason to believe that the 31 year old swing man, reportedly near full health, can still produce.
Whatever Richardson’s place in the Sixer rotation, whether it’s a reserve role, or if he snags a starting spot, his job will simply be to score, often from the arc, where he has blossomed into one of the League’s best and most consistent offensive threats. In fact only the League’s most proficient three point shooter of all time, Ray Allen, has cashed in on more three’s than J Rich since 2004.
He is consistently in the NBA’s top twenty in three pointers made and attempted, and he brings the Sixers a respected perimeter presence they have been lacking. On top of this, he still has the ability to drive and finish, which will keep defenders on their toes. That is crucial when you’re trying to draw attention away from a dominant big like Bynum. However with a roster full of explosive and athletic young players, the Sixers will not rely much on Richardson for his remaining explosiveness, but rather his consistency and ability to stretch the floor.
Richardson’s impact on the young team will not only be felt on the floor, but in the locker room as well, where he will serve as the team’s most experienced veteran. At 31, Richardson’s knowledge and guidance will be important to the League’s youngest team, and if he can provide a solid steady presence in the locker room it will go a long way to help the 7-6 on the hardwood.
The addition of J-Rich, mildly exciting on its own, works perfectly with the acquisition of Andrew Bynum. Richardson will be a perfect kick-out compliment to Bynum on the block, just as he was to Dwight in Orlando. If Richardson is able to remain healthy and produce at a level near where he has in the past, then Bynum won’t be the only trade acquisition that will have a big impact for the Sixers this season.