Jason Richardson faces a new role with the Sixers this season
Jason Richardson's job for as long as he has been in the NBA was to put the ball in the basket. With the Sixers this season, Richardson will be looking at a revised role.
At one time, 'J-Rich' one of the league's most explosive and athletic players. His ability to treat the hardwood like a trampoline energized home crowds in Golden State, Charlotte, Phoenix, and Orlando, and his back-to-back Slam Dunk titles (2002 &2003) solidify his spot as one of the league's most prolific dunkers.
Although he may be best known for his high-flying, Richardson's game was deeper than dunks, as he was able to develop and expand his craft over his 14-season stint. He currently sits fifteenth all-time in NBA history with 1,577 made three-pointers, while his career average of 17.3 points per game lands him in the top 150 of all-time.
Richardson has been able to remain effective by tailoring his game to fit what was needed out of him from a particular team. With the Sixers this season however, he may have to take on a role that he is unaccustomed to. While not starting, or potentially even playing, will be difficult for the former Michigan State Spartan, he looks at it as an opportunity to help further the franchise.
"[Not being a starter] would definitely be a new role for me," Richardson, who has started in 827 of his 838 career games, revealed recently, before explaining that he would be accepting of the opportunity.
"It would definitely be a new role, but that's a role that I would accept. I'm definitely a team player, whatever helps the team. If it's starting, coming off of the bench, or being a mentor this year, I'm okay with that."
Sidelined by injury issues last season, Richardson got his first taste of the mentorship side of the game, and looked to make an impact off of the court as a locker room leader.
"I've definitely become a mentor to some of these guys," he stated. "I've been through every phase of the game you could possibly imagine except winning a championship. I've been on losing teams, I've been on rebuilding teams, I've been on teams that went to the Western Conference Finals. I know what it feels like to win, I know what it feels like to be the man, I know what it feels like when somebody else comes in, and you're not the man. So I just try to tell them all of my life experiences, 14 years that I've been in the league."
With so many young, impressionable players on the Sixers' roster, Richardson's experience could prove very valuable, especially in the absence of other established veterans. His time on the sideline has also provided him with a glimpse into the future.
"[Not being able to play] has been challenging, but it has opened my eyes up to a lot of things," Richardson revealed. "Kind of almost seeing [the game] as a coach, helping the young guys out last year was fun for me. To study the film, to actually break down the film and look at it, help the guys out when they were doing something wrong. It just gave me a different perspective of basketball that I hadn't seen before. It has given me a look at what the future beholds. Maybe some coaching, maybe a front office job, you never know, but I definitely want to continue to be involved with the basketball aspect, definitely in the NBA."
At 33, Richardson is the Sixers' oldest and most experienced player, and it is only natural for him to look forward to the future, and life after basketball. But, for the time being, Richardson has a role with the rebuilding Sixers, and he is going to contribute, either on the court or off of it.