This is the perfect time for Miami Heat’s Josh Richardson to show his worth

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 1: Josh Richardson
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 1: Josh Richardson /

Miami Heat swingman Josh Richardson lived up to his new contract on Friday night, in a win over the Charlotte Hornets. But now, he has to keep up the good work.

President Pat Riley added a handful of new contracts to the Miami Heat’s books recently, including signing Josh Richardson to a four-year, $42 million deal in August. A move that already had many fans scratching their heads, made worse by the 24-year-old’s so far rocky season.

After averaging 10.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steal a game in 30.5 minutes of play last year, the third-year seemed to start 2017-18 play off on the right foot. He averaged 11.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.2 steals per matchup in October, including a 21-point performance in a win against the Atlanta Hawks.

But then, things took a turn.

Richardson lost his offensive mojo, resulting in the likes of scoring three points on 1-of-10 shooting from the field in 36 minutes, against the Washington Wizards. As well as even going scoreless (0-for-5) in 30 minutes, versus the Boston Celtics. And while November wasn’t all bad for the young buck (he scored in double-digits on five occasions), it certainly didn’t capture his finest moments either. At least offensively.

Because defensively, Richardson was a stud.

Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders recently touched upon this.

"“Richardson flat-out flusters his competition and has really put himself in the top tier of defenders. In regards to his position, Richardson ranks fifth in Defensive Real Plus-Minus (1.49) and ninth in Defensive Box Plus-Minus (1.6).”"

Still, a part of Heat Nation couldn’t get past his shooting slump. Especially given how inconsistent the Heat had been as a unit lately.

However, Friday night was the perfect reminder of just why Miami wants the Oklahoma-native around for the long haul. Richardson scored 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting (including going 3-of-4 from downtown) in 35 minutes, in a win over the Charlotte Hornets.

An impeccable start to a new month.

"“This was the player who looked like this coming out of training camp, but you do have to credit J-Rich for his character and competitiveness,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It was great to see him play with that kind of passion.”"

With Miami seemingly starting to figure things out (despite Hassan Whiteside being sidelined for the second time), this is the perfect time for Richardson to once again remind people of his worth. Of the player he can be. Of the player Riley locked into a four-year contract.

On both ends of the court.

And while Richardson didn’t get to face off against the Golden State Warriors last season, he’s ready for tonight’s contest.

"“It’s always fun to be able to play the champs and go up against the best to measure yourself. They play very well together.”"

Next: Miami Heat big man Hassan Whiteside taking things slow, showing growth

The Miami Heat host the Golden State Warriors tonight at 7 PM ET.