(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Go ahead. I'll wait.
Richardson's problem isn't necessarily a lack of skill, but rather a lack of productivity. Orlando brought Richardson aboard prior to the 2010/11 season for his toughness, three-point shooting, and rebounding from the wing position. After two seasons, he's provided the first, but not the second or third, skills for which he was touted.
|Points Per Game||Rebounds Per Game||Assists Per Game|
|Points Per 36||Rebounds Per 36||Assists Per 36|
|PER||Rebound Rate||Assist Rate|
All statistics in this table from Richardson's player page at basketball-reference. Career-high statistics highlighted in gold; career-worst statistics highlighted in silver.
Indeed, Richardson's never been a less effective rebounder, and one wonders if the back surgery he underwent following the 2011 NBA Playoffs eroded his athleticism to such a degree that it limited his board work. Further, though he improved his outside stroke from his dismal first season in Magic pinstripes--28.8 percent on nearly three attempts per game--his 34.7 percent mark still finished below the league average of 34.9 percent.
I looked at some advanced metrics to see if Richardson was making an impact in areas which don't show up in a traditional box score. No dice. Though Orlando's defense improves by 3.3 points per 100 possessions when Richardson plays--which improvement may be due to the quality of competition he faces--its offense plummets by 8.9 points per 100 possessions, making his impact on the team a net negative. In addition, the team rebounds 49.7 percent of available misses, compared to 51 percent with him off the floor.
Even Richardson's one-on-one defense, though physical, leaves a bit to be desired: in isolation situations, Richardson allowed 46.5 percent shooting and 0.94 points per play, according to mySynergySports.com, good for 294th place in the league. He wasn't even the best defensive Richardson on Orlando's roster: Jason Richardson limited opponents in one-on-one situations to 28.4 percent shooting and 0.61 points per play, 28th in the league.
In sum, there's no compelling evidence to suggest Richardson ought to have been in an NBA rotation this past season. He's a situational player at best.