Monday, August 17, 2009

How Compatible is Quentin Richardson with the Miami Heat?

The addition of Quentin Richardson to the Miami Heat was a Pat Riley effort that salvaged something out of nothing. It's fair to say that he's an upgrade from Mark Blount, whom barely played for Miami last season, but how compatible is Q-Rich with the Heat? We weigh in using the MSG Evaluation.

Statistical Analysis
Starting off with the Miami Heat forwards, we compare Richardson's statistics with that of the Miami Heat players. The Heat roster at the small forward position includes James Jones, Yakhouba Diawara and Dorell Wright - with Michael Beasley as an option at the three spot. Focusing in on the main three SFs, we can see a lack of offense all throughout the 08-09 regular season. Jones only posted 4.2 PPG, Diawara logged 4.0 PPG and Wright tallied a meager 3.0 PPG. For the sake of fairness, James Jones did go on to average 10.3 PPG in the playoffs, but we cannot use a seven-game series override the 40 games he played in the regular season.

With that said, Richardson brings a much-needed, consistent offensive option as he averaged 10.2 PPG in 70 games last season with the New York Knicks. The only issue he may have with Miami is that Richardson is entering a team that has its starting rotation fairly locked up - with a likely Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Michael Beasley, Udonis Haslem and Jermaine O'Neal starting group. Q-Rich will likely see his minutes off the bench, which gives Miami three viable sharpshooter options now, alongside Daequan Cook and James Jones. If Q-Rich can accept the bench player role, maybe even as a sixth man, then he'll make a good fit with Miami.

Compared to the entire team, Richardson's offensive statistics automatically place him at the top 5 of the Heat roster. Only Wade (30.2 PPG), Beasley (13.9 PPG) and O'Neal (13.3 PPG) scored more than Q-Rich, with Haslem (10.6 PPG) virtually tied with him in that category.

Knowing that Richardson was primarily brought in for offensive purposes, we are not going to place too much emphasis on his assists, rebounds and other stats. He only racked up 4.4 RPG and 1.6 AST last season, but his minutes were numbered (26.6 MPG) just as Beasley's were last year (24.8 MPG).

Attitude/Behavioral Research
Q-Rich may not be known for his community service, but neither is he for legal dilemmas. He's come from a difficult upbringing as he's lost many family members at a young age. His mother, the person who introduced him to basketball, passed away from breast cancer. His brother was also taken away from him in a deadly assault by robbers.

With such tough realities to accept, Richardson stayed on his path towards reaching the NBA and pursuing his career as a star athlete. His determination ad focus have kept him out of trouble and led him down the path of a successful career thus far.

The Miami Heat, along with NBA Cares, will continue to steer him in the direction of positivity through community service and humanitarian efforts. Given Richardson's clean record we can expect more of the same in Miami from him.

Talent Evaluation
Q-Rich is not the most complete player in the NBA, but he does have plenty of strengths to bring to the table in Miami, along with some weaknesses that must be dealt with. The essential part of Richardson's game is in his shot, beyond the arc. It's what he made his career off of and trademarked by tapping two clenched fists on his headband after every three-ball he made. There's no doubt that tis guy can shoot lights out.

Beyond his stroke, Richardson is a dynamic swingman that can play the two, three and (sometimes) four spots on the court. He isn't known for playing the power forward position, especially at his 6'6 stature, but he can body up some of the lighter players in the league with his 235-pound load.

Off his bio page, Q-Rich speaks of his desire to occasionally play in the paint - "I love to go down to the low post, use my power, use my versatility. . . I love to punish people down low, mess with them, cause all kinds of havoc, be nasty on the inside on smaller guys who can’t really handle me, then play inside out and use my versatility.”

Although he may like to play down low, Q-Rich isn't known for his strength in the paint or for being aggressive in his drives. Most of the time you'll see Richardson spot up for a three as opposed to taking it to the rack for a lay up or pass. If he settles for jumpers in Miami, he may be subjected to a three-point specialist status, similar to Jones and Cook, and will not separate himself as a unique player on the roster, rather just another forward.

Not to mention, defense isn't something that pops out on his resume. The Heat will make it an effort to preach a disruptive defensive attitude and that will require Q-Rich to be more active on the non-offensive end. We'll see how that plays out when he starts to work out with the Heat. Surely a sit down with Pat Riley will set him straight on the team's objectives.

Evaluation Score
Based on our final analysis of Quentin Richardson and the Miami Heat we've graded his compatibility as such:

Statistical Analysis: 3 / 5
Behavioral/Attitude Research: 2 / 2
Talent Evaluation: 2 / 3
Total Score: 7 / 10

Quentin Richardson lands a rating of 7 on the MSG Heat Index and fits fairly well into the Miami Heat organization. Given the circumstances, he really is a player that can be of use to the Heat as opposed to a player who just sits on the bench, like Mark Blount did. Only time will tell how truly compatible Q-Rich is with the Heat. We look forward to his stint with Miami and will follow up with an article - evaluating if theory was put into practice.

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