Boone wonders if Richards, who is eligible for restricted free agency this summer, has carved out enough of a role to warrant consideration as a long-term member of the rebuilding club’s roster. Richards is averaging a career-best 7.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 1.0 BPG this season.
“I’m just trying to be more consistent,” Richards said of his improvement this season. “I’m just getting as many blocks as possible, getting as many rebounds as possible. That’s my job, that’s what I’m here for. So, I’ve just got to do it to the best of my ability.”
There’s more out of the Southeast Division:
- In his first contest back with the Magic following a three-game absence, a big overtime victory over the Heat, starting center Wendell Carter Jr. helped galvanize his team, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. The 6’10” big man scored 27 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in Orlando’s 126-114 win. Price notes that the Magic’s defensive efficiency suffered mightily with Carter sidelined.
- After being sidelined for 15 straight games with a sore knee, Heat point guard Kyle Lowry played off the bench for the first time since January 2013 in Saturday’s loss to Orlando, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (subscriber link). Gabe Vincent drew the start. Lowry is adjusting to the change, having started for 677 consecutive games. “At this point, I know in my heart I’m a starter,” Lowry said. “(Head coach Erik Spoelstra) and I talked and he wants to make sure I’m healthy and not have to change the lineup again and change the rotation. Great communicator he is, great coach he is, I respect (that).”
- Heat reserve center Omer Yurtseven made his first appearance this season after Cody Zeller broke his nose and had to depart the Magic game, Jackson adds. Yurtseven, a restricted free agent this summer, had just one rebound, one missed shot, and a foul in seven minutes.