Miami Heat: Another Star in the Making
It doesn’t take long to know if you’re doing something right.
For rookies in the NBA, their path is extremely difficult depending on which team they made their roster spot on. For Josh Richardson, he had one of the biggest challenges trying to get playing time and crack the Miami Heat’s rotation because of the talent who’s starting over him. Richardson is listed as a 6’6 shooting guard and that only spelled a world of trouble for him on draft night because there was no way he would get minutes over Dwyane Wade, let alone play on the court at the same time as him.
But like we said before, it doesn’t take long to figure out if you’re meant to play in the NBA or not and for Richardson, this last month has been the exact evidence as to why Miami drafted him in the second round with the 30th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
In the month of March, Richardson has been playing his way into the national spotlight and he’s dazzled and performed extremely well during the month averaging 12.6 points while shooting 58% from the floor.
Whether you think Richardson is the steal of the 2015 NBA draft, that’s still up for debate because with rookies like Kristaps Porzingis, it’s hard to determine. However, what’s not up for debate is the way that Richardson has been playing when he’s been granted minutes.
The biggest indicator that Richardson belongs in the league happened in a nationally televised game against the Chicago Bulls. Richardson exploded for 16 points in the fourth quarter to help Miami capture the 118-96 road win. During that quarter, Richardson single-handedly dismantled Chicago as he outscored the entire Bulls roster in the fourth. More impressively, the rookie finished with a career-high 22 points.
“Coach Fizdale always said, ‘Just be ready,’ somehow, some way, there would be a need for me for a playoff push. Now it is happening and I stayed ready. I stayed in the gym. It is a product of hard work”.”
– Miami Heat shooting guard Josh Richardson
Then when arch rival Cleveland came into town this past Saturday, it was the rookie once again who came into the game and got everyone hyped. Richardson played wonderful defense, he hit timely shots and he finished the game scoring 18 points in a 122-101 blowout win.
One of the reasons why a lot of people should be excited about Richardson’s development is that now the minutes can start to decrease for veteran players such as Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic and Luol Deng. Having then fresh for Miami’s playoff run should be the most vital part of their agenda.
With less than a month before the NBA playoffs star, Miami already has a shot to get one of the top three seeds in the Eastern Conference and that’s with playing a rookie like Richardson major minutes. It’s also impressive because they’ve been able to do it without their leading scorer, Chris Bosh.
Speaking of Bosh, we have to send a huge congratulations to his health. The latest news out of Miami is that Bosh doesn’t have blood clots in his lungs. Thankfully and hopefully through the grace of God this will be an issue that will not be the beginning of a serious health condition but the end of it.
Bosh now has the opportunity to rejoin his teammates during the most important part of the year, the playoffs.
With Bosh scheduling a comeback, Richardson and Winslow playing at high levels and Joe Johnson and Dwyane Wade turning back the clock it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the country starts to get ready for Miami.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey