It was a busy trade deadline day for the San Antonio Spurs. When the dust finally settled at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Brian Wright and company had acquired multiple first and second-round picks, a first-round pick swap, Goran Dragic, Romeo Langford, and Josh Richardson. It was truly one of the most exciting trade deadlines ever in San Antonio.
In probably one of the most surprising moves of the day in the NBA, the Spurs flipped Derrick White to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Josh Richardson, Romeo Langford, Boston's 2022 first-round pick, and a 2028 pick swap. It was a move that netted San Antonio some solid pieces as they look to stockpile assets and continue to get younger.
Many Spurs fans were sad to see Derrick go after nearly five seasons in the Alamo City. His defensive tenacity made him a fan favorite, and he will be no doubt be missed for a multitude of reasons. With that being said, Josh Richardson shouldn't be overlooked in this deal, as he could prove to be a sneaky good pickup for the team.
Why Josh Richardson Can Be an Underrated Pickup
Coming in as a seven-year NBA veteran, Richardson won't be expected to play an integral role in the Spurs' offense. Since he presumably won't be starting, he'll be able to come in off the bench and provide some plus minutes as an on-ball defender and knock down jump shots when necessary.
Richardson isn't a volume scorer, so he'll be put in a position to score off the ball while letting guys like Dejounte Murray do the heavy lifting on offense.
It isn't Richardson's first rodeo in this league. He spent four seasons in Miami, where he was a valuable 3-and-D player that developed quickly in Erik Spoelstra's system, increasing his per-game scoring output each season in Miami. He played alongside Dwyane Wade and has earned the respect of some of the best players and coaches in the game.
As beloved as Derrick White was in San Antonio, he was 27 years old and the proposition that he had hit his ceiling was looking more and more likely. He would have exceptional nights like February 3rd against the Heat where he dropped 22 and hit four threes on 64% shooting.
But he could then turn right around and have a subpar outing as he did against Houston in January when he scored just five points while going 0-for-3 from three.
Chances seem high that Derrick is who he is at this point. While still a productive starter, his inconsistency is probably what persuaded the Spurs to pull the trigger on moving him. San Antonio will benefit greatly from being able to replace Derrick's production with minutes from a consistent, more experienced veteran.
Another thing working in Josh Richardson's favor is the rapport he's built around the league in his seven years in the NBA. A consummate pro, Richardson has been a great locker room presence and teammate everywhere he's gone. Back in 2019, Erik Spoelstra had high praise for his former player. "It was a joy to work with him," the Heat coach said. "I love J-Rich. I'll roll with that guy."
This year for Boston, Richardson was shooting close to 40% from three and holding a 107.8 defensive rating, among the top 20 in the NBA. He was embracing a bench role for the first time since his rookie season and thriving in it.
As he makes the trip down to south Texas, I'm excited to see how he contributes to this team. By the end of the season, I expect Spurs fans will be delighted he's part of the squad.