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Sixers’ Elton Brand speaks out on Josh Richardson acquisition

Elton Brand, Josh Richardson

The Philadelphia 76ers lost Jimmy Butler, but aren’t necessary sweating his departure. Why? General manager Elton Brand re-made his team on the fly once it became apparent Butler wanted to play for the Miami Heat, using cap space that had been previously been reserved to sign Al Horford and refusing to let Butler walk away in free agency for nothing.

Josh Richardson was the prize of Philadelphia’ sign-and-trade with Miami, and Brand clearly has high expectations for the Sixers’ new starter on the wing, both offensively and defensively.

“We are thrilled to welcome Josh to the 76ers family,” he said in a statement, per Jon Johnson of WIP. “He has worked diligently and improved each season. As one of the NBA’s best young two-way talents, Josh’s ability to space the floor while also effectively guarding multiple positions at an elite level will bolster our lineup immediately. We look forward to seeing Josh’s continued development as we strive to win a championship for the city of Philadelphia.”

Richardson averaged 16.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game last season, all career-highs. Forced into the role of a primary ball handler due to the Heat’s lack of top-end talent, he generally acquitted himself better than expected, but his efficiency suffered, as Richardson shot 41.2 percent from the floor. He made a solid 35.7 percent of his triples on a difficult variety of attempts, though, evidence he’d be misused if shoehorned into the supporting role of a 3-and-D wing.

Expect Richardson to thrive in Philadelphia, shouldering an offensive load better suited for his talents while making his case for All-NBA honors defensively by hounding opposing guards all over the floor.