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Heat star Josh Richardson leads East in on/off net rating

Josh Richardson, Heat

The Miami Heat seem to have made the right decision by not trading shooting guard Josh Richardson for Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Jimmy Butler.

Entering Friday, Josh Richardson leads the Eastern Conference in on/off net rating. The Heat have a net rating of +6.7 with Richardson on the floor and -13.6 without him.

Through 14 games this season, Richardson is the early front-runner to win the Most Improved Player of the Year award. He is averaging 20.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 42.4 percent from the field, 42.6 percent from beyond the arc and 87.0 percent from the free-throw line.

When Richardson is on the floor, the Heat have an offensive rating of 116.8. That rating drops all the way down to 108.1 when the 25-year-old swingman goes to the bench. He is invaluable to Miami’s success.

Richardson was on the table in trade discussions between the Heat and Timberwolves. The Heat pulled him after the Timberwolves rejected their trade offer for Jimmy Butler, who got moved to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick.

Richardson has one of the best contracts in the NBA. He signed a four-year, $42 million contract extension with the Heat back in the summer of 2017. He was already playing so well during the Butler trade saga, when his name was mentioned in a bevy of trade rumors. Now that Butler has been moved, the former second-round pick can play with a free mind.