Erik Spoelstra on Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson as 2018 NBA All-Stars
The Heat sit at fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 21-17 record, and Miami’s head coach in Erik Spoelstra recently made a big push to get his two players more votes for this year’s All-Star Game in Los Angeles, per Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinal.
“For us?” Spoelstra replied. “Goran, I think year in and year out should be on that list.”
It’s not surprising that Spoelstra named Goran Dragic as a player who should be in the All-Star Game, as he has been an important piece of the Heat for years. But when the champion coach mentioned Josh Richardson, his words dripped with praise.
“If he started out playing this way, Josh Richardson would definitely be on that list, in my mind,” Spoelstra said of the Heat’s emerging small forward. “And he’s going to be considered for that as we move forward. I think that much of him. Bigger than that, people should hopefully start recognizing Josh Richardson’s impact on the defensive end. He’s an All-NBA defensive talent. He’s doing it every single night and now he’s just starting to emerge on the other side of the floor and really gain confidence.”
Those are some very strong words from Spoelstra about his young defender, but he may be making a valid argument. Over the past 20 games, Richardson has averaged 17.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game. Furthermore, he is shooting 53.5 percent from field, 84.9 from the charity stripe, and 44.9 from long distance.
The unfortunate thing is that there are so many good players in the Eastern Conference that it may be difficult for Dragic or Johnson to make the All-Star team, even if the votes from the coaches carry significant weight.