The Jason Richardson 2009-10 Report Card

Did J come to play this season? (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Welcome to the 5th installment of the 2009-10 Phoenix Suns player report cards. We're still using the A-F system, but I decided to make it a bit more definitive for us all. No plus or minuses...
Today we look at Jason Richardson.

 

Jason Richardson faced some serious challenges coming into this season. He was supposedly the crown jewel of the Bell/Diaw/Singletary trade. Expectations were high for the athletic, high scoring former two time dunk contest champion. In Golden State he was the main man, averaging 18 a game for six seasons. After being traded to the Bobcats, he put up 22 a game for an awful 2007-8 Charlotte squad.  

Upon his arrival in Phoenix, we all mourned the loss of Raja Bell, he of the Kobe clothesline, defensive minded and oft big shot maker from beyond the arc. But Richardson represented something different to many of us. Perhaps a pseudo superstar, a scorer, and exciting player that could give the Suns another scoring option along with good size at the 2 to help slow down the scourge of opposing 2's that were beginning to consistently have career nights against Phoenix. Rich could hit from downtown, he could slash to the rim, and he could post up the smaller two's in the league.

But it was an ugly start for Jason, that included some poor choices off the court coupled with inconsistent play on the court. With the exception of a handful of games, Richardson was largely a disappointment. Many around these parts were clamoring for either a trade of Rich and his large contract or a relegation to the bench in favor of everyone's favorite Brazilian Sun, Leandro Barbosa.

Instead what we got this season was a more dedicated Jason Richardson. Rich showed up to training camp in good shape, eager to put his troubles behind him and focus on winning basketball games. He was very happy to be back with the guys, and most importantly, a Phoenix Sun. And what we got during the regular season was a better JRich. A more aggressive, mentally focused and in shape Rich. He was 3rd on the team in scoring, 4th in rebounds, and 2nd in 3-point makes. In 79 games, Richardson scored in double figures 61 times.

I'll spare you the details about the Suns performance when Jason Richardson scores X points, this was the inside/outside joke of the season. So let us just say that the numbers support that the better Jason played, the better the Suns played. The numbers also support that Jason played much better after a day or two off.

Make your conclusions however you like on that one. Bottom line, Jason Richardson had a better than average regular season.

He had ups:

Jason Richardson Floats a GW Jumper against the Oklahoma City Thunder (2/23/10) (via boygenius88)

He had downs:

Jason Richardson misses dunk vs Spurs (via makesco)

And on to the postseason.

Jason Richardson had been to the playoffs only once in his 9 year NBA career, in 2007 with the Warriors. For an NBA player coming from a winner like Michigan State, that couldn't be fun. So perhaps this season was pretty special for JRich. The Blazers chose to let Jason roam free in the first round, and he made them pay, going 21-43 (49%) from beyond the arc, including 8 3's in Portland en route to a 42 point effort. In the close out game, again in Portland, Richardson hit 5-8 from three, putting up 28 points and 7 boards.

San Antonio also had difficulty bottling up JRich, as he tallied 27, 19, 21, and 11 points while shooting 12-23 (52%) from long range as the Suns swept the Spurs. Obviously the competition got tougher against L.A. and Richardson's numbers weren't as gaudy as the prior two series. Still, you cannot say that Rich disappeared as he shot 47% from the field and 14-35 (40%) from behind the arc

Here are some more numbers to chew on:  

2009-10 Jason Richardson Statistics

POINTS PER GAME

REBOUNDS PER GAME

ASSISTS PER GAME

15.7

5.1

1.8

FG%

FT%

3PT FG%

47%

74%

39%

POINTS PER GAME PER 36 MINUTES

REB PER GAME PER 36 MINUTES

ASSISTS PER 36 MINUTES

17.9

6

3

POSTSEASON POINTS PER GAME

POSTSEASON REBOUNDS PER GAME

POSTSEASON ASSISTS PER GAME

19.8

5.4

1.1

PER

eFG%

TS%

16.63

57%

57%

 Key:
Per
-rating of a player's per minute productivity
eFG%-effective FG%, adjusting for 3pt FG worth more than a 2.
TS%-true shooting percentage, taking into account 2 point FG's, 3's and FT's
(Stats courtesy of hoops data and basketball reference)

STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 3rd in NBA postseason 3-point makes (2nd in WC)
  • 5th in NBA postseason 3 point percentage
  • 5th in WC regular season 3 point makes among guards
  • 7th in NBA postseason scoring among guards
  • 8th in PER among WC shooting guards
  • 11th in NBA regular season 3 point makes

In simple terms, I liked the way Jason Richardson adjusted his mind and game this season. He was an integral part of the Suns run into the playoffs, and was huge in the postseason.  In this system, on this team, Jason does his job. He shoots, he slashes, he rebounds. On the negative end, he was still prone to streakiness (aren't most 2's streaky?) and mental lapses on both ends of the floor. But this is Jason Richardson, not Kobe Bryant. What were we expecting?

Rich is an emotional guy. A bit more than average. His confidence dictates his success, as is the case with a lot of players. Still, it's a bit different with Jason. He needs to see the ball go through the hoop. And when it doesn't, he beats the crap out of himself. We saw this plenty this season, but we also saw him attempt to stay in the game on the boards and on the defensive end.

Grade: B

What say the rest of you?

 

 

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