NBA Draft: The case against picking Malachi Richardson
Daily Orange File Photo Published on June 16, 2016 at 10:06 am Facebook Twitter Google+ Liam Sheehan | Staff Photographer Turned overRichardson’s explosiveness toward the rim came with its drawbacks at times, as the occasional erratic drives mentioned in the case for drafting Richardson yesterday resulted in opponents breaking out in transition the other way.Richardson turned the ball over 79 times this season compared to 77 assists. He was the only ball handler on the Orange that had more giveaways than helpers — and it wasn’t even close. Michael Gbinije had a plus-55 assist-to-turnover margin, Trevor Cooney was plus-30 and Frank Howard plus-28.Richardson liked to use any and all space he had in front of him to maneuver the ball, but his lanky frame extended it too far out at times while exposing a flaw that needs reassuring before a team spends a lottery pick on him. Comments Related Stories Malachi Richardson: ‘Shots will fall eventually, that’s what I’m here to do’Crunching the numbers of Malachi Richardson’s impressive responses to low-scoring 1st halvesHow Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson fared at the NBA Draft Combine on ThursdayMalachi Richardson reportedly signs with agent, officially ending his college career Posting upRichardson will likely be a two-guard in the NBA, but if a team needs him to play the small forward spot and feels comfortable slotting him there because of his success at SU in the position, he’ll need to develop some sort of potency from the low block.Comparisons to Kevin Durant and LeBron James are obviously far-fetched, but the two small forwards in have both mastered the turnaround jumper and distributing from the low block —something Richardson didn’t get much of a chance to do since he mainly had the ball on the wing and the top of the key.The added diversity would make him more appealing despite his perceived niche at shooting guard. But the lack of an arsenal from the low block may be a roadblock for his draft stock. The entire mock draft world hasn’t piled onto the Malachi Richardson bandwagon yet, and those holdouts may have valid reason.While there is a strong case to take the 20-year-old in the back end of the lottery in next Thursday’s NBA Draft, a cluster of flaws that popped up throughout his freshman season raise justifiable doubts. Scoring inconsistencies, an unproven low-post repertoire and a turnover-to-assist ratio less than one could steer teams away from spending a lottery pick, or even one in the late teens, on the former Syracuse wing.Here’s some analysis countering yesterday’s case for drafting Richardson so high, this time campaigning for his drop in the draft for argument’s sake.Front-loadedFor whatever reason, Richardson fared far better in the points column in second halves of games than in the opening 20 minutes this season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHis responses to low-scoring first halves were impressive — he only scored in single digits six times in 37 games — and stretches where he seemed unstoppable bailed out his stat line and, at times, the Orange.But that same streakiness is reason for slight concern, as cold periods in his freshman season flashed some inconsistency that can only hurt the otherwise natural scorer at the next level.