On a few occasions this year, 76ers guard Josh Richardson has talked about the team’s lack of accountability. That subject came up again after Sunday’s 110-106 loss to Boston, which gave the Celtics a 4-0 sweep of their Eastern Conference opening-round series in Kissimmee, Fla.
This was Richardson’s initial year with the Sixers after spending his first four seasons in the NBA with the Miami Heat, but he has never been bashful about speaking up.
“He’s got to have a sense of urgency all the time,” Richardson said after the game on a Zoom interview.
Richardson, who turns 27 next month, couldn’t contain his anger.
“I am really pissed, so I am not in a good mood, I am not happy and not sitting here for moral victories because Ben wasn’t here, no excuses,” he said. “We got whooped and I am not happy about it so it is what it is.”
He was referring to two-time All-Star Ben Simmons missing the series after undergoing left knee surgery.
Richardson was asked about playing for Brett Brown, who is now clearly on the hot seat. In answering the question, Richardson addressed the accountability issue.
“He’s a good guy, a good man, he means well,” Richardson said. “I think that going forward he’s got to have some more accountability. I don’t think there was much accountability this season and I think that was part of our problem.”
Again, Richardson has been saying this about accountability for months. He first made the statement following a 115-97 loss at Indiana to the Pacers on New Year’s Eve.
Since he has mentioned this before, Richardson was asked how does the team make the players accountable?
“It just has to start, there always has to be a Day 1,” he said. “You got to start from scratch and it’s not going to be easy.”
The reason it will be difficult is because for it to happen there will have to be some bruised feelings.
“People aren’t going to be comfortable, but that is what championship teams do,” he said. “[If] guys aren’t doing their job on or off the court, there has to be some kind of consequence, not consequence, but we have to be able to talk to each other and listen and not listen to say something back, but actually hear.”
Richardson feels it is vital if the Sixers want to be a major postseason threat.
“It’s a hard lesson to learn for some people, but in order for us to make this playoff run that I know we all want, it has got to start,” he said.
Richardson enjoyed a solid series, averaging 16.8 points, although he shot just 35.7% from the field. He was one of the few Sixers who had any level of success defending Jayson Tatum, who averaged 27 points in the series.
According to NBA.com stats, in 19 minutes and 53 seconds of matchup minutes against Richardson, Tatum shot 7-for-20, including 2-of-7 from three point range, while hitting 4 of 6 free throws, having no assists and two turnovers.
Despite the disappointment of being swept, Richardson did point out some positives.
“I think we had good communication, I think we all have good intentions, I think that on the court we did a better job of listening, but there has to be some conflict, I think that is our next step, to have some conflict on the bench like you saw in one of our first games. I think that was good for us.”
He was referring to the Sixers’ first of eight seeding games when Shake Milton and Joel Embiid got into an argument at the end of the first quarter that could be seen by everybody.