The Miami Heat are back in the playoffs and their 2015 second round draft pick Josh Richardson was a big part of the push to the postseason after the All-Star break. The rest of the NBA took notice and now he has been named by the NBA as the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in March.
From the NBA's press release:
Richardson helped the Heat go 10-5 in March by ranking second among East rookies in scoring (12.0 ppg) and assists (2.1 apg), and leading the conference's first-year players in field goal percentage (53.7), three-point field goal percentage (58.9) and steals (1.3 spg). He averaged 29.1 minutes for the month and scored in double figures in eight of 10 games from March 9-28. His versatility was on full display March 14, when Richardson posted 17 points (including 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range), four rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals in a 124-119 win over the Denver Nuggets.
Among his standout games in March were the following, as noted by the NBA:
- March 11 @ Chicago: Scored 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field and added four assists during a 118-96 win over the Bulls.
- March 14 vs. Denver: Recorded 17 points and added four rebounds, three blocks, two assists and two steals in a 124-119 victory over the Nuggets.
- March 28 vs. Brooklyn: Tallied 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals during a 110-99 win over the Nets.
And his increased production was outlined in the Heat's press release:
In the 23 games since the All-Star break, Richardson has out-performed his previous 23-game season averages in almost every statistical category including points per game (+8.8), rebounds per game (+1.5), assists per game (+1.1), steals per game (+0.78), field goal percentage (+.267), three-point field goal percentage (+.388) and double-figure scoring games (+11). Additionally, he has now connected on 45 three-point field goals this season, the fifth-most by a rookie in HEAT franchise history and his 48.4 three-point field goal percentage is currently the third-highest during a single-season in team history.
Joining him is Minnesota Timberwolves big man Anthony Karl-Towns, who has won Western Conference honors five consecutive times. He was the first overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft while Richardson was selected with the 40th pick out of Tennessee.
Richardson is averaging 6.3 points, 1.3 assists, 1.8 rebounds and is shooting 46.3% from the field and 48.4% from 3-point range for the season. He also led all rookies during March in plus/minus (+66), steals per game (1.13), three-point field goals made (33), field goal percentage (.532) and three-point field goal percentage (.589). This is the sixth time in franchise history a player has earned rookie of the month honors.