Throughout the season, many people have been begging and pleading for Kadary Richmond’s minutes to increase, and Joe Girard’s minutes to decrease. Well it appears as though it is finally happening. In both of SU’s last two contests, Richmond logged more minutes than the Glens Falls Native. Is this a trend that will continue? Well we don’t know, Coach Boeheim has repeatedly said over and over again, “the fans don’t decide who gets to play,” and, “All three guards are important, we need all 3.” But now is the time, Richmond needs to play big minutes and here’s why.
Richmond offers more to the team when he’s on the floor. He’s a two-way player and has some uncoachable traits. He’s 6’5” compared to Girard’s 6’1” stature, and he has defensive instincts nobody else seems to have on the roster. The way Richmond can recognize skip passes and use his long wingspan to clog passing lanes is quite valuable. Part of the reason why he’s third in the ACC averaging about 2 per contest.
You just don’t see the same with Girard. But let me be clear. We’ve seen flashes from JG3 defensively. He had 47 steals just one season ago and had six in three different games. This year he has 26, if you can believe it, but only 12 of those have come in ACC games against better competition.
Richmond on the other hand has had some of his better games against the ACC teams. He had 4 takeaways against BC, 5 against Miami, and a career high against 6 in the loss to Clemson. Keep in mind that he’s posted these numbers while playing 20 minutes (at most sometimes) off the bench. So as far as the defensive end goes, he needs to play more so he can continue to make an impact and a bigger impact at that.
Okay, let’s talk about offense. Admittedly, Girard is a more skilled offensive player at this juncture, based on what I’ve seen thus far. But let’s not confuse the argument here, this is about
Kadary needing to play more, not a question of who needs to start, or who’s better than the other.
Here’s what Richmond brings to the table offensively. He’s a talented passer that can handle the ball and create opportunities for himself and for shooters with his drouble drive. His assist to turnover ratio is 1.93, good for 8th best in the ACC. He is most dangerous when he’s driving to the hoop and drawing double teams and finding shooters open on the perimeter.Nobody else on this team has the ability to consistently drive to the basket and score or dish.
Some teams have been gameplaning to allow Richmond to shoot at times this year because he’s not a great shooter, that’s fine. He gets it, it took him a while to understand, but he gets it. He knows his role and how he can contribute. *May I add though that he’s a 47% shooter from the floor.
JG3 is an incredible shooter, when he’s hot. He’s shown this season that he’s not good enough to run the point for all 40 minutes of the ball game. Solution? Put him in positions to succeed. If he’s more lethal in catch and shoot situations, like Robert Braswell, than put him at the 2. He’s shown he can create his own shots in the season and a half he’s played at SU. But against the elite teams of the ACC, he hasn’t been very effective, or understanding of shot selection. I’m not saying he can’t play point guard, but he doesn’t need to exclusively play the 1. And herein lies my conclusion.
ROTATE THE GUARDS MORE FREQUENTLY. Coach Boeheim has said over and over how important all three guards are. Richmond, Girard, and Buddy all have critical roles to play for this team. So use all three, but not in the manner that you were early in the season.
I’m not asking for Richmond to start or to play 30-40 minutes. Just give me 22-29. Richmond can do so much more for this team. We saw the upside in the NC State game, but really we’ve seen it all year. Down the stretch all I’m asking for here is that Richmond touches the floor more because when he does, he makes Syracuse better.