Davidson guard Richards’ first professional season was a washout. He joined the Miami Heat for training camp, but blew his knee out in practice and missed the entire year. In doing so, his contract became guaranteed.
While there are no rules against a team releasing an injured player, players with unguaranteed contracts are paid by the team until they are healthy. Therefore, because Richards missed the whole year, the Heat had to pay his whole year’s salary. This is the risk teams take when they sign players for training camp, and Richards’ unwanted presence of $442,114 on their cap figure actually put the Heat into tax territory, which is why they had to salary-dump Shaun Livingston. Tough break.
This year, Richards started in Poland on a tryout with Turow, but failed to make the team. He was then acquired by the Utah Flash in November, but did not play a great deal. Richards averaged only 2.9 points and 2.3 assists in 17 minutes of 18 games in two months with the team, scoring in double figures only once. He was then released by the team due to injury in late January and has not played since. It’s not uncommon for torn ACLs to take the best part of two years to heal, and Richards looks to still be suffering from his 18 months on.
Former Florida State forward and one time Hornet Anthony Richardson is playing in Holland. In his second season with the Eiffel Towers Den Bosch, Richardson is averaging 12.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists in Dutch league play, with basically identical 12.9/4.8/1.8 numbers in the EuroChallenge. For an explanation of why a Dutch team is named after the most famous of all French landmarks, read this comment on a very old post.
One of the Eiffel Towers assistant coaches is former NBA player Sharone Wright. Some bonus trivia there.
Former NBA journeyman Richardson has spent the year with Aris Thessaloniki, where Roy Birch keeps calling him Jerry. He is averaging 14.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in the EuroCup, alongside 11.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in the Greek league. He has 17 assists in 928 total minutes played, has 186 three-point attempts to 42 foul shot attempts, and shoots a three-pointer every five minutes. He hits these three-pointers at a combined 39.7%. I guess what I’m trying to say is he’s the same player he ever was. He’s a shooter.
Personal favourite former Bulls guard N-Rich retired from the game seven years ago, but later returned to play seven more years. (True story. Long story. Never mind the details.) He has only played 45 minutes all season, though. N went unsigned until early March, at which point he was able to catch on with German team Bremerhaven. However, he has played less than an hour in only five games, totalling only 9 points, 8 rebounds and 6 fouls along the way. Maybe we should petition them.
Former Timberwolves forward Rickert spent his third consecutive season with the New Zealand Breakers, a team which play in Australia’s NBL despite the name. He averaged 11.6 points and 7.1 rebounds (which led the league) for the Breakers, who went 15-13 on the season. However, the Breakers have already signed New Zealand international Mika Vukona to replace Rickert for next season, so Rick’s only chance of staying with the team is if he can get a New Zealand passport. He’s trying to do so, and he’s also playing in the New Zealand league for a team called the Harbour Heat. The New Zealand league takes place in the summer, starting after the conclusion of the NBL season, and that’s how it’s able to lure some NBL talent. It’s not of the same calibre, though, as evidenced by the hike in Rickert’s numbers to a gaudy 20.0 points and 12.4 rebounds, including a 22/22 game.
There’s a site up at www.rickrickert.com. But it’s far from a Rick Rickert fan site.
Former Cavaliers guard Filiberto Rivera is Puerto Rican, so it’s perhaps no surprise that he’s playing in Puerto Rico. Playing for Gallitos de Isabela, Rivera is averaging 15.1 points and 4.2 assists per game, albeit while shooting only 31% from three-point range. His two American team mates there are Shaun Pruitt and Alando Tucker; Pruitt we’ve already covered, and Tucker we’re about to. A longer breakdown of the 2010 Puerto Rican basketball season is coming shortly.
Rivers started the year in Italy’s LegaDue, but did not last long. He averaged 24.5 points and 5.7 rebounds for Associazione Basket Latina, and Benetton Treviso quickly took note and signed him up. In 15 subsequent Serie A games for Benetton, Rivers has averaged 11.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, shooting 44% from three-point range.
By being called up to Serie A mid-season, Rivers became the only American rookie in the whole of Serie A. The only other one is Rivers’s Benetton teammate, former USC guard Daniel Hackett, and yet Hackett does not count as an American player because he holds an Italian passport. The division is flooded with American players, but they’re all veterans; the unwritten rule of the league says that players must earn their bones in other leagues before Italy will give them a chance. The same is true in Spain, where only one player in the ACB was an American rookie this year (Ahmad Nivins). So if any undrafted rookies sign in Serie A or the ACB this year, they’ve done all right for themselves. As has Rivers.
The Bulls waived Roberson after the completion of their summer league campaign last year, thoroughly unimpressed with his shot selection in the tournament. Roberson then made it to the Clippers for training camp to battle for their open guard spot, but lost out to Kareem Rush. Some time later, Roberson signed with Strasbourg in France to replace Oklahoma State’s Terrel Harris, and he’s scored big there, with the third-highest scoring average in the league of a healthy 17.9 ppg. He also averages only 2.2 rpg and 1.0 apg, but this is Anthony Roberson we’re talking about – he’s going to shoot. Roberson takes over nine three-pointers a game, a justifiable decision when viewed alongside his 42% conversion rate, but he still does little other than shoot. If you were expecting some kind of reformation into a post defender or something, you’re very ambitious.
Dayton’s Brian Roberts impressed a lot of people in summer league with the Sacramento Kings this year, but went to Germany anyway. For Brose Baskets Bamberg, Brian brings 13.0 points per game in the German league, and brought 10.5 ppg in the EuroCup. He is shooting 49.5% from three-point range in the Bundesliga and 52.3% overall. Pretty good from a 6’2 guard.
Ex-Grizzlies forward Roberts is signed with Partizan Belgrade. It was supposed to be a good not great gig, but Partizan have gone on to have a Cinderella season, making it all the way to the EuroLeague semi-finals where they will take on Olympiacos. Roberts has been a sizeable part of this, averaging 8.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in the EuroLeague, alongside 10.3/6.5/1.4 in the Adriatic league.
However, the 6’9 Roberts has also made a distinct change to his game this year. This year, Roberts is casting up the three-pointers. He has shot 19-62 from there in 19 EuroLeague games (31%), and 17-55 in the Adriatic League (also 31%). Roberts has always been around about a 30% three-point shooter, but year he’s taking a lot more, shooting almost three per game in the EuroLeague. And it’s had a big effect on his overall field goal percentage; Roberts is shooting only 44% in the Adriatic League, and a spluttering 32% in the EuroLeague. He’s working on the Hunter for the whole season, and that’s as a 32 mpg player.
This doesn’t change the fact that he’s best when defending and rebounding, though. And that’s why he’s playing so much.