Josh Richardson bounced around in a lot of roles before the NBA season was halted.
The 76ers acquired him from the Miami Heat last July to start at shooting guard. Richardson also was their backup point guard, and the designated lock-down perimeter defender.
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Some of his impact took a hit due to missing 18 games with injuries. However, his averages of 13.8 points and 3.1 assists are the second-highest of his five-year career.
“I think the first half of year was pretty good,” Richardson said during Monday’s Zoom call with the media. “I think it could have been a lot better, individually and as a team.
“But going forward, I need to keep playing defense the way I always do, and try to be consistent and vocal. I think our team needs to be a little bit more vocal going forward.”
Richardson believes those were among the Sixers’ issues on the road this season. His squad had the league’s best home record at 29-2 but was 10-24 away from home.
“Consistency will be a big thing for us going forward,” he said.
A healthy Richardson should help with that.
The 26-year-old was sidelined at various times with right hamstring tightness, left hamstring tightness, hip flexor tightness and the concussion protocol.
The NBA shutdown gave him an opportunity to put those injuries in his rearview mirror.
“Yeah, that’s definitely a good way to look at it,” he said. “Not just for me, but for my teammates. Ben had his back where he was having issues. Being able to give him a couple of months to rest and to get that back has been great.”
Simmons will return after missing the final eight games before the shutdown with a pinched nerve in his lower back.
Richardson has been trying to strengthen his legs during the shutdown. There is a lot of optimism with players being healthy.
“So I think we will be able to give ourselves a good chance once we start rolling,” he said of the 22-team restart at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla.
Alec Burks has played in 11 games with the Sixers after being acquired with Glenn Robinson III from the Golden State Warriors on Feb. 6. The combo guard is averaging 10.7 points and 20.2 minutes as one of the key rotation players. He can provide instant offense off the bench.
Yet, he’s unaware of what his role will be going forward, especially in the postseason.
“I guess we will see because the games I played, the whole team wasn’t there,” Burks said. “Ben was out. Josh was out for a little bit, as well, missing time. So I don’t think I had a game where everybody was healthy. I guess we will see how it goes.”
He noted that coach Brett Brown has a lot of time to figure out the rotation. Then, they’ll open their eight-game “seeding” schedule on Aug. 1 against the Indiana Pacers. The playoffs are set for Aug. 17.
No fans will be inside the arenas. So what will be the source of the Sixers’ energy?
“I think we definitely have to bring our own energy,” Richardson said. “It’s going to be like scrimmages the whole time, the AAU tournament of the century, kind of.