Doncic's 'Gravity': Mavs' Richardson Primed for Career Year

The Dallas Mavericks could have another steal of a trade on their hands, as Josh Richardson seems to be a perfect compliment to Luka Doncic in the backcourt, priming him for a potential career year.
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"I'm excited to play next to (Luka Doncic), because he's one of the best play-makers in the NBA," said newcomer Josh Richardson during his first Dallas Mavericks training camp. "He has a really high gravity on the court."

That 'gravity' Richardson mentions is as real as it gets, too - just ask Tim Hardaway Jr., who shot 34.0% and 31.7% from deep in his last two seasons with the New York Knicks, respectively, before breaking out for a career-high 39.8% last season while playing next to Doncic in the Mavs' backcourt. 

And for even more context, Hardaway Jr.'s previous career-high for three-point percentage was 36.3%, which came in 2014 during his rookie year with the Atlanta Hawks.

The 'Luka Effect' is something that every player wearing a Mavericks uniform going forward will benefit from heavily, and Richardson is the next guy in line to reap those benefits. It's also something that the Mavs are hoping will eventually change their luck for the better when it comes to luring big-name free agents to Dallas.

READ MORE: Mavs' Richardson: A Luka-Friendly 'Gap-Filler'

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As well as Hardaway played last season for the Mavs, Richardson's ceiling in Dallas figures to be even higher due to his perimeter defense and secondary play-making abilities. ESPN's Zach Lowe seems to agree with that line of thinking, being that he recently selected Richardson as one of his six "NBA Redeem Team" players for the upcoming season.

"With Trey Burke and Jalen Brunson helming reserve units, Richardson's ball-handling load should never get too burdensome.

Of course, the major benefits come on defense. Dorian Finney-Smith was Dallas' only reliable wing defender last season, though Tim Hardaway Jr. put together his best campaign on that end. That became a problem against Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the postseason. Richardson provides a second stopper who defends point guards and wings.

A lineup of Hardaway, Richardson, Finney-Smith, Doncic, and Porzingis has massive two-way potential for a team that was basically all offense last season. Dallas can go even bigger -- replacing Hardaway with Kleber or some wing/hybrid forward yet to be acquired."

Richardson had a down year by his career standards last year while playing for a Philadelphia 76ers team that simply didn't have enough spacing or play-making, which resulted in him being overexposed at times. That won't be a problem playing with Doncic, and eventually, Kristaps Porzingis as well.

"Coming here is going to be a different look for myself," said Richardson, who will be looking to rebuild his standing as one of the league's best two-way players before potentially entering free agency next summer.

Richardson is primed to have a career year in Dallas for a number of reasons: A fresh start, an upgrade in overall talent around him, both with players and coaches, and a lot more of that on-court gravity.

"I think it's a different play style. I think it kind of fits me more," said Richardson. "I think a change of scenery is nice."