Like I said in my previous post analyzing Gilbert Arenas since he came to Orlando, the honeymoon period after the trade is over. The freshness that comes after a trade has ended and the team is settling into the grind of the season.
At this point, stretches of games are going to be more important than individual games. And clearly this team is still growing together and learning to play together.
Jason Richardson, though, has seemingly fit right in and has found himself in a great situation after the trade. It seems of the new players (not named Hedo Turkoglu), Richardson has had the easiest time fitting in on the offensive end.
That should be no surprise. He has been a great offensive player throughout his career in Golden State and Charlotte and played fantastically off of Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire in Phoenix the past year and a half.
Richardson has quickly found his groove in Orlando and seems to be a good match with what this team wants to do offensively.
His scoring in Orlando is down from his time in Phoenix earlier this year to 15.2 points per game from 19.3 points per game. But obviously there are more offensive weapons in Orlando than in Phoenix. The Magic are not asking him to do as much. That much is shown in the decrease of his usage percentage — which is down to 18.4 percent from 25.4 percent.
Both his true shooting percentage and effective field goal percentage have increased slightly despite scoring fewer points and having a smaller role than he did in Phoenix since the trades. Richardson has a true shooting percentage around 60 percent and his effective field goal percentage has jumped from 55 percent to 58 percent.
That shows Richardson is taking advantage of his opportunities and being highly efficient with them.
It has helped too that Richardson has not had to create for himself as much either. Richardson has been assisted on 75 percent of his shots, that is by far his high since 2007 and way up from the 69.9 percent (his previous high) he had in Phoenix.
He is getting to the rim less, according to HoopData, but is making more of his shots when he gets there. According to HoopData he has made 27 of 35 shots at the rim and has taken 19.4 percent of his shots with the Magic are at the rim, compared to 24.4 percent of his shots in Phoenix.
The same theme seems to exist. Richardson’s scoring numbers are down, but he is a much more efficient player. Like Arenas, he is still feeling his way into what he can and cannot do in this offense and is deferring more to the weapons around him because he has them.
Of all the players acquired in the trade, and this includes Turkoglu, Richardson has probably been the most consistent.
Richardson is averaging 15.2 points per game but has not had a wide range of scores with Orlando. He has had a high of 21 points (twice against Minnesota and New Orleans) and a low of five points (in the first meeting with Boston. In 15 games, he has scored 20 points five times and and has scored less than 10 points just three times. He has not scored fewer than 10 points in the last eight games.
In those eight games, Richardson has averaged 18.3 points per game and is shooting 52.4 percent including 25 for 54 from beyond the arc (46.3 percent). His effective field goal percentage, according to the Advanced Stats Calculator, in those eight games is at 64.3 percent and his true shooting percentage stands at 65.4 percent. If you scroll up to the top of the page, you can see those are better than the marks he has had with the Magic overall.
It appears Richardson’s offense is trending upward as he gets more comfortable within Orlando’s sets. His defense is another matter. He struggled mightily guarding Ray Allen in the closing stages of Monday’s game and then, of course, he bit on Paul Pierce’s famed pump fake.
Richardson, like all the new players, has a ton to improve on. But right now he definitely seems to be playing at a much higher level than some of his teammates.