A Response To Evan's Article About Jason Richardson

Evan's article about Jason Richardson's recent performance led me to do some number-crunching of my own. First, to recap the stats:

In Phoenix, Richardson averaged 19.3 points in just 31.8 minutes per game on 57.8 percent True Shooting, a great figure for a volume-shooting perimeter player. Despite playing 2.1 more minutes per game on average with Orlando, Richardson's scoring has dipped 30 percent to 13.4 points per game, and his True Shooting is down to a more modest 53.8 percent.

The most obvious factor in his decline is his baffling inaccuracy from long range: he's connecting on just 35.8 percent of his 5.8 threes per game with Orlando. Were it not for his 41.9 percent mark with Phoenix, that'd be his worst showing from beyond the arc since 2004/05.

And of course, since Richardson is taking more threes here as a percentage of his total shots than he did in Phoenix, his overall effectiveness and scoring has declined dramatically.




A few very interesting things:

Jason Richardson's percentage at the rim in Orlando (and earlier this year in Phoenix) is better than his career numbers. It'd be reasonable to want him to drive more then, since he's doing a great job of finishing. There's no shooting slump there. And his numbers 16-23 are right around his career average, so there is no shooting slump there either.

However, he is much worse 3-9 and 10-15 feet than his career numbers would predict. Odd. Maybe this is where his shooting slump is manifesting itself.

Of course, the biggest focus of Evan and the Magic community at large is Richardson's perceived slump from beyond the arc. Again using numbers from one of Evan's graphs, 49.6% of Richardson's shots in Orlando are coming from beyond the arc, compared to 38.2% in Phoenix earlier this season.


Richardson's performance in Phoenix this season immediately stands out as a huge outlier. In fact, his performance over his entire tenure in Phoenix is higher than his career average, whereas his current "shooting slump" in Orlando is only 0.7% lower than his career average. So, IS Jason Richardson going through a slump? Or is this just the result of him crashing back down to the mean?

The numbers clearly suggest that it was and is totally unreasonable for us to expect him to perform as well as he did in Phoenix. How Jason Richardson is shooting in Orlando is almost exactly how he has shot over the course of his career. From where I stand, the only question remaining is whether Jason Richardson has simply regressed to the mean, or whether this regression is part of the steady decline that happens to speed-oriented perimeter players around the time they turn 30 (Jason Richardson celebrated his 30th birthday on January 20).

One more graph:


*Redick's numbers begin with the 2008-2009 season, which is when he started averaging double-digit minutes per game.

Here we see that J.J. Redick has outperformed Richardson in every single category, except for being slightly worse around the rim. And Redick is about as good at drawing free throws: he draws 1 FT attempt per every 10.07 minutes, while Richardson draws a FT attempt every 9.97 minutes. To put it in a different way, that's a difference of 0.1 minutes, which is 6 seconds, which is so small that it's negligible.

So, to summarize, the numbers show that Jason Richardson isn't in a shooting slump. His numbers in Phoenix instead were just abnormally high, which may or may not be partially attributed to playing with Steve Nash. What Orlando is getting now is what can reasonably be expected from his career numbers. On top of that, J.J. Redick is very similar around the rim and at drawing free throw attempts, and Redick's numbers are significantly better everywhere else.

There is no reason to sign Jason Richardson beyond this season when they can get similar or better results from his backup. The Magic already made a huge mistake by paying a tremendous amount of money to Gilbert Arenas for performance comparable to Chris Duhon's, the man he was replacing. The team doesn't need to make the same mistake with its shooting guard position.

This FanPost was made by a member of the Orlando Pinstriped Post community, and is to be treated as the opinions and views of its author, not that of the blogger or blog community as a whole.

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