By Marcus Thompson
Saturday, March 17th, 2007 at 8:00 pm in Uncategorized.
A lot of this hot streak has to do with Baron. No doubt. He’s the MVP of the team.
But the way Richardson is playing right now is inspirational — mostly because it’s going unnoticed. His points, assists and rebounds are easy to see. But his intangible contributions are as vital as they are unnoticed.
How hard he’s trying on defense, how hard he’s running the floor, how willing he is to make the extra pass. He’s doing all the little things. Remember, he was the star last season. He was the man. This season, he has, willingly, embraced the role of glorified role player for the sake of winning. He’s on pace to average a career-low in points per game. Yet he’s finding a way to contribute to potentially a playoff season.
For instance, in the first half Sunday, he got caught behind a teammate’s man in the post after a switch, all three times he prevented a basket. He drew a charge on Chris Wilcox. He forced Collison to miss a turnaround badly off the glass. He coaxed Rashard Lewis, who caught the ball from a back-to-the-basket position, into a missing a jump shot.
Not to mention he did a admirable job just shadowing Ray Allen, not allowing him easy looks (it’s only the halftime as I write this, so Allen has time still to go off).
Richardson, last season and the season before, wanted eagerly to be the man on this team. He wanted to be the franchise player for the Warriors. They gave him the money as such, but then they traded for Baron. He didn’t pout that he suddenly wasn’t the man, but celebrated the idea of being a sidekick with a great player like Baron.
Last year, with Baron down, he elevated himself to best player on the team status. Coming into this year, he had some injuries, Monta blew up, they traded for a similar-and-productive player in Stephen Jackson. Richardson has all the motivation necessary to lament and pout. Instead, he has taken a back seat. He has suppressed his game and relished the opportunity to do something special as a group — even though he is not the man.
Richardson has his flaws on the court. He’s no Kobe, and it may look as if the tandem of Stephen Jackson and Monta Ellis makes him expendable. But every good team needs a Jason Richardson.