Jason Richardson has to be one of the most intriguing acquisitions of the Hawks’ offseason. The 14-year veteran is coming off an injury plagued 3-year stint with the Philadelphia 76ers. In his younger years, Richardson was one of the most athletic players in all of the NBA. He was a two-time slam dunk champions and has a highlight reel of stunning dunks throughout his NBA career. He also had a tremendous ability to create his own shot and score on his own. Richardson has lost some of his athleticism through the years and is no longer a terrific shot creator, but he does have a skill set and a veteran presence that could bring a lot of value to the Hawks this season.
Richardson has a non-guaranteed contract, so if he is unable to stay healthy, or struggles, the Hawks can cut ties with the veteran. However, if Richardson is healthy, he should bring a lot to this Hawks team. Richardson may have only played in 52 games for the 76ers over three seasons and started in 48 of them, but when he was on the court he was an effective player. He averaged 10.0 points per game and shot 33.5% from behind the arc. He did try to create his own shot to much and ended up taking a lot of poor shots. His field goal percentage of 38% will have to be higher if he wants to see actual playing time for the Hawks.
Richardson is heading into his 15th season in the NBA, but surprisingly is only 34 years old. His shot creating may have fallen off, but if he can stay within his current skill set, Richardson is a valuable piece to a wide open wing rotation. Over his career, Richardson is an extremely efficient 37% from the three-point line, and even at his older age he can be a solid wing defender. With the departure of Demarre Carroll, the Hawks have signed numerous wing players in an attempt to replace the Junkyard Dog. Thabo Sefolosha looks to be inked in as the starter and played very well when healthy for the Hawks last season. The Hawks were a shocking 42-9 when Sefolosha played. The Hawks traded away their first round pick for Tim Hardaway Jr. this offseason, so he looks to be a major piece in the puzzle for the Hawks this upcoming season. After that, Jason Richardson will be competing with guys like Justin Holiday and Kent Bazemore for minutes.
At the very least Richardson can provide some veteran leadership to a Hawks squad a lot like Elton Brand added to the Hawks roster last season. Though Brand did not see the court much in 2014-15, his impact was more than just on the court. Young guys like Justin Holiday and Kent Bazemore can learn a lot from a 14-year veteran like Richardson.
It looks like the Hawks are addressing the loss of Demarre Carroll via a committee approach, and Richardson can be a piece of that puzzle if he buys into the system and plays within his game.