Josh Richardson is looking like the Miami Heat’s future

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 23: Josh Richardson
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 23: Josh Richardson /

Finally healthy again, Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson is looking like the team’s future.

Only three games into the 2017-18 season, but it’s already clear: the Miami Heat made the right choice in giving Josh Richardson a contract extension.

The third-year agreed to a four-year, $42 million deal in September and the rest was history. He no longer had to second-guess his talent. Or fear that the organization didn’t believe in him. Because despite inconsistencies during his rookie season, regardless of the injuries that hampered him last year, the Heat were all in. They liked what they saw, were excited for his development and kept the faith.

Obviously, all for good reason.

Because so far, the 24-year-old is killing it.

Richardson averaged 13.6 points,2.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.4 steals over five preseason games. Including a 19-point performance against the Orlando Magic, during which he also totaled 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block and 4 steals. And dunked on Bismack Biyombo.

So naturally, now the guard wants to dunk on everybody.

"“I feel athletic so I always want to take advantage. I want to dunk on everybody now.”"

The newfound athleticism shows.

Already this season, Richardson has averaged 14.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 blocks a game in 36.3 minutes. He is outworking opponents on both end of the floor, proving himself an offensive leader and a defensive powerhouse. It seems there’s little he can’t do.

"“What didn’t J-Rich do tonight?” head coach Erik Spoelstra said, after Miami’s win over the Atlanta Hawks. “He was great defensively… [and was able to] space the floor for us and then when needed in the fourth quarter he was very aggressive, being able to attack when their defense stepped up.”"

On Monday night, the Oklahoma-native finished with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals, all in 37 minutes. He was the team’s leading scorer, helping them secure a 104-93 victory against the Hawks. Debuting a new hairdo alongside fellow draft pick Justise Winslow, it was clear Richardson was feeling himself.

Now it may be early in the season, but it seems pretty certain the the young fella is exactly what the Heat want their future to be all about. A fresh pair of legs, who lives and breathes the culture,  and is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed? Feels like a no-brainer. Especially given that while Richardson’s talent is already apparent, he has yet to reach his ceiling.

Last year, No. 0 showed flashes of potential. Particularly during the month of April, during which he averaged 15.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 blocks and 2.3 steals per contest in 38.3 minutes. But 2017-18 is bound to be an even more productive run for Richardson.

Next: Defensive stops, first half shooting power Miami Heat past Atlanta Hawks

The Miami Heat have set themselves up for greatness, with Josh Richardson as part of their future.