Richardson's Player of the Week Honor a Timely First
Midway through his fifth NBA season, Josh Richardson can now add an impressive new item to his resume.
On Monday, the 26-year old was announced by the league as the KIA Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played from Jan. 6 through Jan. 12.
Earning the recognition for the first time in his career, Richardson averaged 22.7 points, 3.7 assists, and 2.3 rebounds while helping the 76ers to two wins in three match-ups with opponents currently holding playoff seeds.
With the Sixers returning home from an 0-4 road trip this time a week ago, his contributions were especially noteworthy. He went for a team-best 23 points in last Monday's 120-113 victory over the then-surging Oklahoma City Thunder, before setting the tone in Thursday's 109-98 win versus the Boston Celtics.
Against the C's, Richardson not only stood out by scoring 29 points - his second highest total of the season - but for the way he went about his business. Forty-five minutes before tip-off, the Sixers announced that Joel Embiid would miss at least a week to two weeks of action due to injury.
With the club absent its leading scorer, Richardson went to work right away, tallying 13 points in the opening frame. He then helped seal the Sixers' triumph by tacking on 14 more points in the fourth quarter.
"His attitude and his attack-mentality right out of the gate was impressive," Brett Brown said that night. "He was extremely aggressive on both sides of the ball immediately.
"This was a close-out game, when you can go 3-0 on Boston [in the regular season series]. You don’t know where that may be cashed in at some point, if at all. In our eyes, in January, this was kind of a unique game. I think that with Josh Richardson, with the absence of Joel Embiid, with a chance here at home to go 18-2, we wanted to keep momentum going. I think that Josh drove that."
As a result, Richardson was chosen as the 76ers' postgame locker room bell-ringer.
"The few of us knew that since [Embiid] wasn’t playing, we were going to have to be more aggressive because he is quite possibly the best center in the game and he’s a huge piece of our offense," said Richardson. "We knew that it’s kind of a mental note that you have to take going into it. I knew early on that I was going to have to be aggressive to give our offense a good shot."
He and the Sixers reaped the rewards of that approach.
Heading into Saturday's stop at Dallas, Richardson had netted 20 points in back-to-back games, and three of his previous four appearances. He finished the evening with 16 points.
Richardson's Eastern Conference Player of the Week honor marks the first for a 76er this season.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) January 13, 2020