Due to the state of rebuilding the San Antonio Spurs have found themselves in, it’s safe to say that the franchise will not be able to claim any individual awards at the end of the season. Those awards, of course, are MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man, and Most Improved. The NBA does not have a Comeback Player of the Year award because the nature of the game means players rarely miss entire seasons due to injury. The NFL has that award for obvious reasons.
I understand why the Association can’t include a Comeback Player award, although I like it, so for the sake of content and my own enjoyment, I’ll add it to this list. I did this list over on Piston Powered and had to concede that no Piston will be in the running for these awards on a league level, and as a Spurs fan it pains me to say it, but San Antonio may be in a bleaker spot.
There is no chance anyone wins MVP or Rookie of the Year, even though we fans believe in these players. Playing in a small market on a bad team does not help someone win individual awards, and that’s the exact situation the Spurs have found themselves in.
Despite their inevitable poor standing in the league, the Spurs will, of course, have their own internal winner of each one of these awards. The rest of the league may overlook the Silver and Black due to their record, but fans will have plenty of reason to be excited for the 2022-23 Spurs.
Spurs' Comeback Player of the Year - Josh Richardson
Originally, I wanted to give this award to Zach Collins, but, unfortunately, he hasn’t had much of a career to come back to. Josh Richardson is not yet 30 and at his peak. He was a regular starter for the Miami Heat and was a 15-point-per-game guy. In Boston and San Antonio, he came off the bench and his numbers dropped, but I think he can return to form this season.
I hope he doesn’t start a single game for the Spurs. Younger guys like Josh Primo and Devin Vassell should be ahead of him in the lineup, and maybe both of them will start. But Richardson is still a productive player, who, if he plays well, could be flipped for additional assets.
It wouldn’t shock me if he was one of the first guys off the bench, and since he is probably the most consistent veteran on the team, the coaching staff will let him do whatever he wants on offense.
He is a great scorer and solid defender, so if he gets the minutes, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to revert back to his prime. Opposing defenses will be more focused on Jakob Poeltl, Keldon Johnson, and even Jeremy Sochan, so Richardson will be able to ball out against weaker defenders. As the team is built right now, Josh Richardson may be a top-three player on the team, but he won’t be treated like that.
I expect big things from him as long as he’s on the roster.