Josh Richardson

Sixers Notes: Playoff Rotation, Richardson, Embiid

Alec Burks, who was traded to the Sixers at the trade deadline, could find himself out of the team’s playoff rotation if Brett Brown decides to go with a nine-man rotation, Derek Bodner of The Athletic argues in his latest mailbag. Bodner trusts Glenn Robinson III‘s shot more than Burks’ and cites Robinson’s comfort level playing off the ball as reasons for the choice.

Shake Milton, Josh Richardson, and Tobias Harris would likely start alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Al Horford and Matisse Thybulle are strong candidates for major minutes and Bodner see Mike Scott getting considerable run, though Brown could mix things up depending on the opponent, with Furkan Korkmaz also an option.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Richardson could wind up being a trade chip if the salary cap decreases and ownership doesn’t want to pay a massive luxury tax bill, Bodner writes in the same piece. The scribe adds that from an on-court standpoint, the 26-year-old shooting guard can be a valuable long-term piece for the franchise.
  • The challenges of putting together a playoff rotation this season are different than last year for the Sixers, Rich Hofmann of The Athletic explains. The team had a statically superior starting five last season and just had to configure the bench, which was a tough ask. This season, there’s no clear dominant five. And while there are more options on the bench, Brown won’t be able to make decisions based on a large sample size due to the suspended season.
  • Chris Mannix is optimistic about the Sixers’ chances once play resumes, as he writes for Sports Illustrated. With every team out of tune, Mannix believes low-post play could become more important than shooting, and Philadelphia has the most dominant big man in the Eastern Conference.

 

Injury Updates: Aldridge, DSJ, Celtics, Sixers, Bagley

A pair of players who have missed some time with injuries are on track to return to action tonight. One of those players is Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been sidelined since February 23 due to a right shoulder strain. Head coach Gregg Popovich said today that Aldridge will be back in action on Tuesday night against Dallas, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.

Meanwhile, Dennis Smith Jr., who has missed the Knicks‘ last five games, has been cleared from the NBA’s concussion protocol and will be active on Tuesday night in Washington, head coach Mike Miller told reporters this evening (Twitter link via Ian Begley of SNY.tv).

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said today that Jaylen Brown (hamstring), who will miss his fourth straight game tonight, also seems unlikely to play on Thursday. Stevens added that Kemba Walker‘s left knee is feeling good, though the point guard will remain limited to about 30-32 minutes per game (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN).
  • Both Joel Embiid (shoulder) and Josh Richardson (concussion) returned to practice today for the Sixers, per Bontemps (Twitter link). Embiid is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. Detroit, while Richardson should be good to go, tweets Jon Johnson of SportsRadio 94WIP.
  • As the Kings continue to push for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, there’s no indication that Marvin Bagley‘s return is imminent. The team issued a press release today announcing that Bagley continues to recover from a left midfoot sprain and is doing some on-court running and skill work. Sacramento provided no specific timeline for the big man, simply saying that updates will be provided “as appropriate.”

Atlantic Notes: Rose, Ntilikina, Richardson, Simmons, Nets

New Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose is asking their long-suffering fans for more patience. Rather than holding a press conference, Rose instead issued a letter to the team’s fans which was posted by the team’s PR department (Twitter links here). “Nothing about this is easy, or quick, so I ask for your continued patience,” Rose wrote in part. “What I promise you in return is that I will be honest and forthright.” Rose also pointed out the team has young talent, significant future assets and financial flexibility to make moves.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina was previously represented by Rose before switching to Bouna Ndiaye last year and has high praise for the team’s new boss, Peter Botte of the New York Post relays. “He’s a good guy. We can trust him, I think,” Ntilikina said. “We all want what’s the best for the team. Leon is an expert in his job. He knows what he’s doing. He was a great agent and I’m sure he’s going to do great things here.”
  • Sixers guard Josh Richardson is in the league’s concussion protocol and won’t play against the Lakers on Tuesday, Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets. His status for the remaining games on the team’s road trip will be updated at a later date, Bodner adds.
  • Sixers guard Ben Simmons shouldn’t have played against Milwaukee when he reaggravated a back ailment, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer argues. The All-Star experienced lower-back tightness while grabbing a rebound during the team’s first practice after the All-Star break. He tried to come back that weekend against the Bucks and departed in the first quarter. He’ll miss at least two weeks.
  • Coach Kenny Atkinson tried to stir up the slumping Nets with a long, difficult practice on Monday, Brian Lewis of the New York Post reports. Brooklyn has dropped into eighth place in the East. “You’ve got to get a little uncomfortable when you’re not doing well. I think that’s part of the philosophy. You’ve got to feel that,” Atkinson said. “It’s great having days like this, two days in between, allows you to really practice and get some things done.”

Sixers Notes: Horford, Richardson, Embiid, Shamet

Al Horford wasn’t in the starting lineup last night for the first time since his rookie season, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Sixers coach Brett Brown met with Horford on Monday to explain the lineup change, which included starting Furkan Korkmaz at small forward and shifting Tobias Harris to power forward. Horford said he’s willing to accept his new role, even though it’s not what he expected when he signed a four-year, $109MM deal with Philadelphia last summer.

“Obviously, not the position that I saw myself in, but it’s what was best for the team,” he said after the game. ” … I honestly don’t think it changes much from what I was doing before.”

Although Horford seemed like an ideal candidate to play alongside Joel Embiid, the two big men haven’t been able to get their games to mesh, adds Bontemps, who suggests that Horford now faces the possibility of being on the bench in the closing minutes of playoff games.

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Josh Richardson‘s absence has been an overlooked reason for the Sixers’ recent slump, Bontemps adds in the same piece. Richardson returned to the starting lineup Tuesday for the first time since a hamstring injury on January 22 and posted a plus-24 rating in 31 minutes.
  • Embiid’s ongoing drama with Philly fans continued as he was booed during introductions for the third consecutive game, but he got them cheering with a 26-point, nine-rebound performance, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “We are all human beings. If I can take it, then everybody else can take it, too,” Embiid said. “We learn from it and we move on. I got to do a better job. They got to do a better job. I understand where they come from. But then again, if you dish it, you got to be able to take it back. But at the end of the day in my location … it’s all love.”
  • Landry Shamet was angry when he learned that he had been traded from the 76ers to the Clippers last season, but he quickly got over it, relays Mark Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Shamet, who returned to Philadelphia last night for the first time since the deal, was having a strong rookie season for the Sixers before being included in the package L.A. received in exchange for Harris. “You realize you have been traded and you have to move so it was kind of a roller coaster at first, but once you get settled, especially once I got that first game under my belt, I realized the makeup of the team and where I was and realized it was a good situation,” Shamet said.

Josh Richardson Expected To Miss At Least 2-3 Weeks

The Sixers have lost another one of their starters due to an injury, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Josh Richardson has been diagnosed with a left hamstring strain. Richardson is expected to be re-evaluated in two or three weeks, per Charania.

Philadelphia had already been playing without center Joel Embiid, who has been sidelined since January 6 due to a finger injury. Embiid has made progress in his recovery and seems likely to return before Richardson does, but for now it looks like the team will be down two starters.

It will be a test of the 76ers’ depth, with players like Furkan Korkmaz, Matisse Thybulle, and James Ennis among the candidates to see increased roles in Richardson’s absence.

Richardson, who ranks third on the team with 31.5 minutes per game, has contributed 15.0 PPG, 3.4 APG, and 3.3 RPG with solid perimeter defense in his first year as a Sixer. He suffered his hamstring injury during the first quarter of Wednesday’s loss to Toronto.

Even if Richardson is re-evaluated two weeks from today and is deemed ready to return at that point, he won’t be back on the court prior to the trade deadline, so any moves Philadelphia makes by February 6 will be have to be completed without the team seeing its fully healthy roster in action again.

Southeast Notes: Graham, Love, Mathews, Richardson

Breakout Hornets point guard Devonte’ Graham is shooting just 27 percent from the field over the last nine games and that’s a sign that opponents are respecting him, former teammate Kemba Walker told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

“You learn, you grow and you adapt,” Walker said. “He’s showing the whole NBA how good a player he is, so that kind of attention is going to come. You just have to accept it as kind of a respect thing.” Earning a $1.4MM salary this season, Graham is one of the league’s biggest bargains. He is averaging 18.9 PPG, 7.7 APG, and 3.9 RPG for the 13-23 Hornets.

Graham’s recent shooting woes have decreased his field goal percentage this season to just 37.6% overall. That said, he still boasts two solid shooting percentages. Graham is connecting on 39.1% of his triples and 80.3% of his free throws with the Hornets.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Trading for Cavaliers big man Kevin Love wouldn’t make sense for the Hornets, Bonnell writes in a mailbag post. While the team needs star power, Love is owed more than $90MM beyond this season and will be 34 when that contract expires in 2023, Bonnell continues. Even if the Hornets sneak into the playoffs, they wouldn’t be set up to advance with Love, limited on defense, as the No. 1 option, Bonnell adds.
  • Garrison Mathews said he was capable of torching an opponent with his shooting ability prior to his 28-point outburst against Miami on Monday, according to Mike DePrisco of NBC Sports Washington. The Wizards signed the undrafted rookie to a two-way contract in early July. Mathews, who made four 3-pointers and 12 free throws against the Heat, spoke of his offensive prowess during a pregame TV interview. “I’m not just a basketball player, I’m a professional shooter,” he said. A 6’5″ shooting guard out of Lipscomb, Mathews averaged 20.8 PPG and 5.5 RPG in his final season at Lipscomb, knocking down 3.2 threes per game at a 40.3% rate.
  • Josh Richardson could have been a perfect complementary piece to Jimmy Butler if the two were together with the Heat, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines. Miami needed to include Richardson in their sign-and-trade deal for Butler to make the salary requirements work. Richardson wound up in a better situation with Philadelphia, who have legitimate title aspirations than if he had been dealt to Minnesota last season when the Heat tried to put together a package for Butler, Winderman adds.

Additional contributions by Alex Kirschenbaum.

Atlantic Notes: Horford, Richardson, Rozier, Prokhorov

Al Horford hasn’t had a smooth transition to his new team after leaving the Celtics for the Sixers this summer, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Many expected Philadelphia to rise to the top of the East after adding the five-time All-Star, but Horford is still searching for his role in the offense alongside Joel Embiid.

Horford is averaging 12.6 PPG, his lowest scoring total in eight seasons, and his 46.0% field goal percentage and 6.6 rebounds are the lowest figures of his career. However, he averages 18.6 PPG in the six games Embiid has missed, suggesting his reduced numbers are tied to opportunity.

“I’m out (there) for the team and doing what I can to help us,” Horford said. “But offensively, I’m very limited with the things that I can do. So I can’t control that stuff. So all I have to do is make sure I’m there for the team, trying to do everything I can to help us win.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Josh Richardson discussed the need for more “accountability” after today’s blowout loss in Indiana, Pompey tweets. The Sixers trailed by more than 30 points in the second half. “I don’t think that there’s enough accountability in our locker room right now, honestly,” he said. “I think that we got some new guys, who don’t want to step on toes, including myself. I feel like we kind of go play, and don’t compete as much. There’s been games that we have and it’s been great. But when it’s not going good, we got to hold each other accountable. I think that’s where a lot of our problems start.” (Twitter link)
  • Former Celtics guard Terry Rozier notices the difference between this year’s 23-8 team and last year’s underachieving squad, relays Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Rozier admits there may have been more talent last season, but the players seem to be enjoying the game more now. “Talent, it can’t always get you to where you want to go,” he said. “You’ve got to have the guys that want to be good, want to play hard, want to learn — stuff like that. Obviously you can have all the talent in the world; if you don’t put it together and everybody don’t buy in, it’s not going to work out. And I think that’s what we got caught up in last year.”
  • Former Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov was named Russian businessman of the year by Forbes Russia after netting a profit that may have reached $2 billion when he sold the team and Barclays Center, relays Net Income of NetsDaily.

Southeast Notes: Bertans, Wizards, Parker, Heat

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard recently declared that the team fully intends to keep sharpshooter Davis Bertans beyond this season, and it appears that interest is reciprocated by the Latvian Laser and his camp. Bertans tells Fred Katz of The Athletic that he’s happy with the Wizards and that his family has been enjoying D.C.

“(D.C.) is just more something closer to home, like a little international, European style,” Bertans said. “There’s some history that not a lot of cities in the States have. And then when you’re downtown, everything is walking distance. That’s about it. My family loves it here. So, that’s a big part. … Happy wife, happy life.”

Bertans has, of course, been enjoying a career year on the court, emerging as one of the NBA’s best three-point shooters in terms of both accuracy (46.2%) and volume (4.0 made threes per game). According to Quinton Mayo of NBC Sports Washington, longtime agent Arturs Kalnitis said his client has appreciated the opportunity to “showcase his abilities” and has had an “all-around great experience” in Washington. Still, Kalnitis noted that Bertans figures to draw plenty of interest in free agency next July.

“This will be an interesting summer for Davis as many teams are high on him,” Kalnitis said. “Every team needs players like him to win a championship.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Former first-round pick Anzejs Pasecniks, who signed a two-way contract with the Wizards this week, made his NBA debut on Wednesday, marking the first time two teammates from Latvia played together in the same game. Both Pasecniks and Bertans spoke about how much they valued that opportunity, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. “You can’t even imagine what kind of a small possibility that is,” Bertans said. “It’s an amazing feeling. It just shows that basketball in Latvia is growing very rapidly.”
  • In addition to being the first team to reach out to Jabari Parker in free agency, the Hawks also promised the most regular playing time, which was a major factor in the forward’s decision, as he tells Michael Pina of SB Nation. “Forget the contract and whatever. I’ve made a lot of money other places,” Parker said. “So it’s not just for the money. It’s just so I can enjoy the game. As long as I’m playing, that’s all I care about. It’s not about anything else.” Parker is averaging 27.4 minutes per game in Atlanta this season, his highest mark since 2016/17.
  • As a result of the offseason trade that sent Josh Richardson to Philadelphia, he and Justise Winslow are no longer teammates after spending the first four years of their respective NBA careers with the Heat. Still, Winslow claims the trade actually brought him and Richardson even closer. Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel has the story and the quotes.

Sixers Notes: Thybulle, Korkmaz, Neto, Richardson

It hasn’t taken long for Matisse Thybulle to become recognized as one of the NBA’s best defenders, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Defense was the calling card for Thybulle when he was selected with the 20th pick in this year’s draft, and his impact has been immediate. He leads the league in steals at 2.8 per game and is second on the team in blocks with 1.4 per night

“I try not to look at the numbers, because for me all the defensive (ones) just come from hustle and just getting lost in the game,” he said. “So it’s exciting to see the numbers. But do I really worry about them? No.

Sixers Expect To Pay Luxury Tax In 2020/21

Sixers managing partner Josh Harris anticipates that the team will be a luxury tax payer for the 2020-21 season, as he told Rich Hofmann of The Athletic in a Q&A session that also included GM Elton Brand.

Harris said there “are definitely issues” that come with being a taxpayer, including some roster restrictions. But he has no qualms about that prospect.

“If that’s what it takes to win, we’re going to do it,” he said.

The luxury tax threshold is approximately $132.6MM and Philadelphia is currently a few million below that number. However, the Sixers already have nearly $144MM in contract guarantees for next season. That’s due in large part to Ben Simmons‘ max extension. He’ll jump from $8.11MM this season to $29MM in the first year of that extension. The combined salaries for Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid and Al Horford next season total up to more than $91MM.

Harris and Brand provided some other interesting insights in the Q&A:

  • Harris expects the team to get deeper in the playoffs and everyone is accountable:  “I think we all feel some pressure. Elton does. I do. Brett and the players all want to deliver for the city,” he said.
  • Harris had hoped Jimmy Butler would re-sign but was impressed by the way the front office shifted gears to re-sign Harris, acquire Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade with Miami, and bring in high-profile free agent Horford. “He obviously had a lot of choices and we’re happy for him that he’s with a great organization,” Harris said of Butler. “But for us, the job that Elton and his team did to pick up Al Horford and Josh Richardson on the heels of that and to get Josh Richardson back in a sign-and-trade obviously, I watched it from the inside and it was incredible.”
  • Brand presents Harris with various scenarios in free agency and trades to spell out how each move would impact the bottom line: Brand told Hofmann how he breaks it down to his boss. “Hey, these are our options. If this happens, I don’t know, but this player could be available, this player could be available, this player could be available. This looks like a 50-win season, this looks like a 55, our penetration could be this in the second round to the Eastern Conference Finals, to the finals. If we lose this player and can’t do a sign-and-trade, we’re going to be here.”