Evolution of Game
Jason Richardson has become more than just a human highlight reel.
by Jonathan Santiago / @itsJONsantiago
Early in Jason Richardson‘s career, fans were accustomed to seeing highlight reel dunks like this.
But now at 30 years of age, Richardson has changed his game and reputation as a player. In his tenth NBA season, the Orlando Magic guard has now earned the distinction of being a reliable and consistent shooter.
“Just hard work,” Richardson said of his transformation from flashy in-game dunker to dependable spot-up shooter. “I came in this League and really wasn’t a shooter.”
Is there any player in NBA history with a comparable career arc?
Courtesy of Basketball Reference
Former NBA guard Michael Finley didn’t win one, let alone two Slam Dunk titles like Richardson. But both players relied heavily on athleticism in their early years, then honed their shooting as they progressed in their careers.
Does Richardson believe the comparison is fair?
“I think so,” he said. ” He (transformed) pretty later in his career, toward the end of it. But I think I did a good job midway through my career.”
He is shooting 40.8 percent from beyond-the-arc so far this season – the highest mark of his career. And he leads the League in three-pointers made with 163.
“I guess I’m in my prime right now,” he said. “I’m 30 years old. I definitely became a better shooter the last few years.
“Everybody says I can’t dunk no more, but I’ll take that,” Richardson added with a grin.
He may stay grounded these days. But as he puts it, he’s gotta save those legs for the Playoffs.