Free agent profile: Jason Richardson
This is the 17th post in a series of profiles analyzing a free agent and how he might fit with the Lakers.
Orlando Magic guard, Jason Richardson
Type of free agent: Unrestricted
Positives: Lakers fans surely remember when Richardson hit 10 three-pointers against the Lakers last season, when the Suns tallied 22 three-pointers. The Lakers could use Richardson's three-point shooting; he has made 37.3% of three-point attempts during his 10-year NBA career. It would meet an immediate need. The Lakers shot 35.2% from downtown in the regular season and 28.9% in the playoffs. The Lakers' problems shooting from outside isn't limited to three-pointers. According to Hoopdata.com, the Lakers shot 37.5% during the regular season from shots 16 to 23 feet from the basket, a mark that was 26th in the league.
Adding Richardson would strengthen the rest of the Lakers' overall offense. Part of the reason why Kobe Bryant and the inside game were inconsistently last season was because of a lack of consistent outside shooting. Trying to limit or at least contain Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom sounds like a burden on paper. But with defenses not having to stretch the floor, they could pack it in on and isolate on Bryant. That created a trickle-down effect where it became harder for the bigs to establish post positioning, the frontline receiving touches became more difficult and Bryant resorted more to taking over on his own.
Negatives: Richardson doesn't have great quickness or ball handling skills and possesses poor lateral movement on defense, meaning as much as he'll help the Lakers offensively, he won't help them on the defensive end. It'd also be foolish for the Lakers to sign him to a long-term deal because of his age (30).
Verdict: There's very little debate on whether the Lakers shouldget Richardson. It would be a huge pickup, but at what price? Richardson has indicated he wants to play for a championship-contending team regardless of the money. But don't automatically assume the Lakers have all the bargaining power in being able to sign him to an inexpensive deal considering there are a number of other contenders, as detailed by Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe, who could use his services. Clearly, those other teams would likely be able to offer more money than the cash-strapped Lakers.
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