Philadelphia 76ers: Josh Richardson is like Redick and Butler combined

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

While losing Jimmy Butler is a bummer, Josh Richardson is a perfect partner for Ben Simmons in the Philadelphia 76ers backcourt moving forward.

It’s done.

After hours of anticipation and brand new deals for Tobias Harris and Mike Scott, the Philadelphia 76ers have sign-and-traded Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat for Josh Richardson and the final three years of his four-year, $42 million deal.

The team also signed Al Horford to a monster four-year, $109 million deal moments after the trade was finalized, but that’s not what this article is about (more on that here).

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In the lead up to free agency, yours truly broke down how a sign-and-trade works and identified J Rich as the top player the Sixers should target in free agency.

Here’s why:

Measuring in at 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, Richardson is easily the crown jewel of the Heat’s war chest of players and is practically tailor-made to play on the wings in this modern NBA.

In 2019, Richardson put up career-high numbers at (pretty much) every stat, averaging 16.6 points, 4.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals a game while knocking down 35.7 percent of his 6.3 3 point shots a game.

While his career 3 point shooting percentages is only slightly above the NBA average (36.8), Richardson has steadily attempted more and more outside shots with each passing season and has seen his points per game follow suit as a result.

But much like Butler – who is a less effective shooter than Richardson from 3 (34.1 over his career) – the best part of Richardson’s game is actually his defense.

Over the last three seasons, Richardson has earned a positive defensive Real Plus-Minus rating from ESPN, topping out at a positive .62 in 2017-18. Are those numbers as good as Butler’s? Nope, but that’s why the Heat flipped Richardson for Butler; Butler is an upgrade over Richardson pretty much across the board, but the difference between the two as a second or third offensive option on the wings is marginal.

Josh Richardson is a fantastic guard/forward with the size, speed, and defensive versatility to start at either the two or the three, and could be an invaluable secondary playmaker alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in the Sixers starting five.

And interestingly enough, Richardson and Harris are both Tennessee Volunteers alumni.

While the duo never actually shared the court in college, or in the NFL, as Harris was a one-and-done in 2010-11 and Richardson spent four seasons with the Vols from 2011-15, it’s still pretty surprising serendipity that the duo will be wingmates at the two and three for the next three-plus seasons.

Oh yeah, and now the 76ers starting five will measure in at 6-foot-10, 6-foot-6, 6-foot-9, 6-foot-10, and 7-foot-plus. Elton Brand officially got his dream lineup.

dark. Next. Signing Al Horford just made 76ers team to beat in Eastern Conference

Will it work? Will Philly have 40 wins next season? 50 wins? 60 wins? Who knows, but with Josh Richardson now a member of the Philadelphia 76ers for about $10 million a year, there’s a chance this team could be very special in 2019-20 in a way that almost seemed impossible at 6:30 when the team looked like they bunted on the most important free agency period this decade. That’s why you always have to Trust the Process.