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Heat rookie sensation Josh Richardson one of NBA's hottest shooters

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Miami Heat's Josh Richardson impressive shooting has drawn the attention of NBA bloggers.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Richardson of the Miami Heat is cited as the hottest shooter of the last seven days by PointAfter, as written up in NBA's Hangtime Blog. They state:

"Richardson has converted 46.9 percent of his 3-pointers this year, including a scorching 64 percent clip since the All-Star break. That’s the best mark in the league over that span by more than 10 percent, leading second-place [Joe] Johnson, another surprisingly capable deep threat for Miami’s suddenly shooter-heavy backcourt."

FYI, PointAfter has a profile page on Richardson, which includes detailed statistics of his performance this season. An article on Richardson in his college days at University of Tennessee, which includes highlight clips of his collegiate dunks and blocks, mentioned his scoring went from 2.9 PPG to 15.7 PPG as his minutes increased. He also showed a noticeable improvement in his 3FG% from his freshman to senior year of 23.7% to 36.7%.

Nobody expected a 64% conversion rate for a 7-day span though. Going from basketball as a part-time activity in college, to a full-time occupation in the pros, accelerated his development by leaps and bounds.

His 46.9% shooting on 3-pointers for the year currently ranks third among players in the NBA with at least 50 attempts, which is extraordinary considering his playing time was practically non-existent before the All-Star break. Both Justise Winslow and Richardson are making the choices of allocating player minutes for the team difficult.

Coach Erik Spoelstra will have a tough decision to make during the last four weeks of the season on whether to start a player who has a better 3FG% than Stephen Curry (46.2%) or keep him on the bench. The same dilemma presents itself with Hassan Whiteside, now that his consecutive double-double streak off the bench has ended.

NBA stats reveals Richardson has the third best Net Rtg on the team in March, but with a very low usage rate, probably because he is not a primary ball-handler. All the players have a Def Rtg over a 100, with, surprisingly, Gerald Green the lowest of the bunch, followed by Richardson and Whiteside. That explains why Green can have a positive +/- without scoring a point. He could get use a lockdown defender, instead of being known as the "igniter." Since defense leads to offense, Green may gain his shooting confidence back by not forcing to launch ill-advised shots.

Player Off Rtg Def Rtg Net Rtg Usage
Luol Deng 114.9 104.7 10.2 19.2%
Goran Dragic 114.2 104.5 9.8 22.6%
Josh Richardson 111.7 102.1 9.6 14.9%
Hassan Whiteside 109.9 102.5 7.5 21.6%
Amar'e Stoudemire 116.2 108.8 7.4 14.8%
Dwyane Wade 118.5 111.8 6.6 31.5%
Joe Johnson 115.7 110.0 5.7 18.7%
Justise Winslow 110.3 104.8 5.5 12.3%
Gerald Green 94.1 100.2 -6.1 25.5%
Josh McRoberts 96.0 116.9 -20.9 11.1%
Udonis Haslem 83.3 162.7 -79.4 28.6%

The starter's +/- figures where abysmal in the Charlotte Hornets game, which gives pause to make starting games in the hole a habit and having the bench mob dig the team out of them. Just by losing one game the Miami Heat went from third place to tied for fifth with Charlotte and then up to fourth with a recent Boston Celtics loss.

Spoelstra faces at least three different agendas to juggle at the same time before April 16:

  1. Keep the team healthy
  2. Have home court advantage in the first round
  3. Decide on the final rotation players for the playoffs

Richardson has made his case to become a starter, even though that will not happen for sentimental reasons. As Analytics Art notes, "Richardson is doing his best to re-calibrate expectations in Miami, both for himself and the Heat." A little more than a dozen games remain for Spoelstra to finalize his post-season lineup.