Phoenix Suns guard Jason Richardson was back in town today working out with his teammates for the first time this summer. He addressed his two-game suspension and the 24 hours he spent in jail as a result of pleading guilty to driving under the influence just 9 days after being traded to the Suns from Charlotte.
"When you get in trouble you deserve to get punished. Even though it hurts me and it's going to hurt the team a little bit in those two games I'm not there, I hope we come out with two victories," Jason went on to describe his time in jail as "tough".
"That's what comes with the consequences of what I done. After these two these two games after I put this behind me, learn from my mistakes and move on with my life and my career," Richardson told Sports 620 KTAR's Craig Grialou today at the Suns practice facility.
Richardson sounds appropriately contrite in his statement. In many ways he is helped by his good reputation in the league leading up to this incident. His citation just a few weeks later for reckless driving, failure to use a child seat and excessive speed doesn't help though. It remains to be seen how Phoenix fans will react to him this season.
JRich can go a long way towards winning back Suns fans with his performance on the court.
He feels that he will be more aggressive on both ends of the floor in his first full-season with the Suns. He talked about his difficultly adjusting after the trade, "Getting traded mid-season, it had never happened to me before and it was tough. You have to get adjusted to a new city. Get adjusted to new teammates. Everything is on the fly, moving your family and getting adjusted to where you live at so it definitely was a big adjustment. So I think coming in already settled, going to camp, knowing the team, knowing the coach is going to benefit me a lot."
Richardson brought the Suns a huge upgrade in athleticism at the two guard. His ability to finish as well as shoot from range makes him an elite offensive player in the league. Defensively, he struggled with rotations and didn't seem to put the same effort into that part of his game. He is strong with extremely long arms and while he might be expected to struggle against smaller guards like a Monta Ellis, he should be a better defender then he has shown.
He said in the exit interviews at the end of last season that defense would be a focus this summer and that he would be working on his lateral movement. Maybe he, did but it didn't come up in this interview, "Ball handling and mid-range. I definitely put a lot of effort into those two areas. Getting to the line, not just settling for three's all the time. Take one or two dribbles and pulling up, just learning where to get my sweet spot at."
I guess we shouldn't be surprised, but Jason didn't mention the D word once which is a shame but something that Suns fans are going to have to accept this season. This team will win by putting up big numbers and hopefully they will be able to get key stops when needed at the end of games. It might not be a proven formula for championships in the NBA but it is Phoenix basketball and the fans should be happy to see their high-power offense back this season. Jason Richardson can certainly contribute to that.
Full audio provided by Sports 620 KTAR