Nets All-Time Top 25: No. 21 Micheal Ray Richardson

Dynamic guard led playoff upset in 1984 and had All-Star season in 1984-85

The selections for the Nets All-Time Top 25 Team were made by the author, with no input from the Brooklyn Nets organization. Selections were based on a combination of individual performance, team success and their contribution to it, and longevity with the franchise.

Micheal Ray Richardson’s tenure with the Nets was brief, star-crossed, and electric through two full seasons and parts of two others.

In 1984-85, Richardson earned an NBA All-Star Game selection while turning in one of the great seasons in franchise history. The 6-foot-5 point guard started all 82 games and averaged 20.1 points, 8.2 assists, 5.6 rebounds and a league-leading 3.0 steals while playing 38.1 minutes per game.

Less than a year later, Richardson’s NBA career was over as he was banned for drug use after playing 47 games during the 1985-86 season.

A three-time All-Star before he arrived in New Jersey, Richardson was traded to the Nets midway through the 1982-83 season. The team went on to win 49 games, a franchise NBA record that stood until the 2001-02 NBA Finals team won 52 games. Richardson completed his split season averaging a league-leading 2.8 steals.

In his first full season with the Nets in 1983-84, Richardson averaged 12.0 points, 4.5 assists, 3.6 rebounds and a team-leading 2.1 steals. The Nets made their third straight playoff appearance and were matched against the defending champion Philadelphia 76ers in the first round as the league expanded its opening round to a best-of-5 series for the first time.

As the Nets jumped to a stunning 2-0 lead by winning the first two games by 15- and 14-point margins, Richardson had nine assists in each game and 32 points in Game 2. After the Sixers tied the series at two games apiece, the Nets won Game 5 in Philadelphia, 101-98, as Richardson had 24 points, six assists, six rebounds and six steals while playing 47 minutes. It was the franchise’s first NBA playoff series victory. Richardson averaged 20.6 points, 8.6 assists and 4.2 steals per game in the series.

In 11 playoff games that spring, Richardson played 40 minutes per game, averaging 16.8 points, 7.2 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.1 steals per game.

Richardson played 208 games for the Nets and ranks first in franchise history with 2.7 steals per game. His 3.0 steals per game in 1984-85 tops the franchise single-season list, and his 2.7 in 1985-86 are fifth. He is seventh in Nets history in assists per game with 6.6, and averaged 16.1 points per game as a Net.


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