One of the new veterans on the Philadelphia 76ers roster already is becoming a strong influence for the team’s younger players.
Acquiring Josh Richardson this past summer was one of the biggest moves made by the Philadelphia 76ers. The four-year veteran is already in the top teir of perimeter defenders in the league, while also being a well rounded offensive player. Despite not being on the Sixers for very long, he’s becoming a role model for the team’s younger perimeter players.
During 76ers media day, Shake Milton revealed that he’s modeling his own game after Richardson’s and that “he looks up to” the two-way star, per Noah Levick of NBCSPhilly. Milton is a shooting guard with combo guard potential. Last seaosn, Milton played on a two-way contract with Philly’s G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats. He averaged 24.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists with Delaware last year.
That production earned Milton a regular NBA contract, but he’s far from being a finished product. It appears that the Sixers are developing him into a combo guard, but it doesn’t meant he can’t take aspects from Richardson’s game into his growth as a player. Richardson’s defense is something Milton can try to emulate and Richardson proved to be a solid playmaker last year averaging 4.1 assists, so he could probably help Milton improve in that area too.
Milton isn’t the only young player that Richardson will be influencing this season, per Levick.
Josh Richardson said he’s been trying to take Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle under his wing and give them confidence.
He said Smith had a block today where he “came out of nowhere.”
— Noah Levick (@NoahLevick) October 2, 2019
Considering that both Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle have the potential to become All-NBA defenders, its important that they learn from an elite two-way wing from Richardson. Richardson has the challenge of helping mold two promising, but completely different, defenders.
Smith has a chance to one of the best on-ball defenders in the NBA, where as Thybulle could end up leading the NBA in steals for multiple seasons. Richardson is known for his on-ball defense and he averaged 1.1 steals last season, which was 49th best in the NBA. Hopefully, with Richardson as their mentor, both Smith and Thybulle can become elite defensive wings sooner rather than later.
The acquisition of Richardson doesn’t only help the Philadelphia 76ers title aspirations for this season, but in the long-term, he could help develop the team’s future defense stars on the perimeter.
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