2016 NBA Draft: Malachi Richardson scouting report
Malachi Richardson 2016 NBA Draft scouting report
Malachi Richardson scouting report
Malachi Richardson’s draft stock wavers with each day. Some teams consider him a lottery pick. Others don’t think he should crack the first round. But after averaging 13.4 points per game as a freshman at Syracuse, Richardson decided to test the waters and ultimately declare for the draft.
Click through the slides for Richardson's strengths, weaknesses, and his fit on the Celtics.
Richardson shot just 35.3 percent from three, but displayed strong shooting ability as a Syracuse freshman. Richardson lacks advanced ball handling moves, but he’s shown flashes in spurts. At the least, with his size he could be tough for opponents to handle when he attacks closeouts with a straight-line drive.
Richardson is one of the least efficient freshman scorers to enter the draft this season. His shot chart bleeds red from every area of the court (except three-point range), as shown by his 46.6 eFG percentage. Richardson can create off the dribble but he’s limited by his lack of explosiveness. To overcome his weakness, he’ll need to improve his fluidity and craftiness.
Defensively, Richardson is a mixed bag. He played zone at Syracuse, so teams will need to get a look at him playing man-to-man defense in pre-draft workouts. He didn’t always employ full effort though.
Richardson would struggle to receive opportunities early in his career for the same reasons R.J. Hunter and James Young haven’t: defense. Richardson has the tools, but hasn’t shown he can defend NBA caliber wings. He certainly has upside, but unless the Celtics drastically change their roster, he might be buried on the depth chart.
Speaking strictly as a player, the Celtics have taken shots on raw projects in the past (Fab Melo, also a product of Syracuse, being the Public Enemy No. 1). So it’s not unusual for them to try and mold the unfledged. But it’s more likely that Richardson is a “James Young” than anything else.
Richardson must’ve received information -- or a promise -- that he’ll be selected in the first-round, otherwise he wouldn’t have skipped playing at the NBA Combine. It’s impossible to know if he’ll be a lottery pick, which is where some teams rank him, or a late first. So it’s about a 50-50 chance he’ll be available for the Celtics at No. 16.
Kevin O’Connor can be followed on Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA.