Days after the NBA draft, Pat Riley and the Miami Heat assembled a rare press conference earlier this week to introduce their second round pick Josh Richardson, the defensive-minded guard out of Tennessee who stands 6-feet-6.
The team would appear to have high hopes for Richardson, who Riley said they had ranked 24th in their draft, and were very pleased to select him with the No. 40 pick. Not only is it highly unusual for the franchise to formally introduce a second round pick, they were already selling his official team jersey as well, just like their lottery pick Justise Winslow.
For his part, Richardson doesn't mind the extra attention but is more focused on making a solid first impression with the coaching staff heading into Summer League play. The competition for a spot on the roster and meaningful playing time will be difficult with Mario Chalmers, Shabazz Napier and Tyler Johnson all currently on the roster and with each of them capable guards able to back up starters Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade.
As the team made final preparations at the AmericanAirlines Arena on the eve of their first Summer League game in Orlando, Richardson sat down with Hot Hot Hoops to give a quick update on his progress since arriving in Miami.
Hot Hot Hoops: "What aspects of your game have you been working on since you signed?"
Josh Richardson: "I think the biggest thing is just getting into the flow of the NBA game as opposed to college. It's definitely a lot different, so it's been a learning process but we've been picking it up pretty quickly."
HHH: "What are you looking forward to accomplish in the Summer League?"
Richardson: "Just to get my feet wet in our first NBA game. Just try to be effective on defense and knock down some open shots for my teammates."
HHH: "What has coach Erik Spoelstra talked to you about with regards to what he wants you to work on?"
Richardson: "He just said work on my shot and if I can hit it consistently than I should try to play myself into being a factor on the team this year."
HHH: "How did you feel about getting that attention with the press conference as a second round pick?"
Richardson: "I wasn't really worried about it like that. It was cool though but first I'm going to try to do my best to help the team out this year."
HHH: "The Heat seem really high on your focus on defense. Did they mention that as a reason they were so interested in you?"
Richardson: "They definitely said they liked my defensive potential. I can use my length pretty well on defense and be disruptive."
HHH: "How important is it to work on your 3-point shot? The Heat really need help in that category."
Richardson: "Yeah, I've definitely been working on that every day. I feel like if I can just knock it down consistently, then I think it can help us out a lot."