Due to the state of rebuilding the San Antonio Spurs have found themselves in, it’s safe to say that the franchise won’t be able to claim any individual rewards at the end of the season. Those awards, of course, are MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man, and Most Improved. The NBA does not have a Returning Player of the Year award because the nature of the game means players rarely miss entire seasons due to injury. The NFL has this award for obvious reasons.
I understand why the Association can’t include a Comeback Player award, even though I like it, so for content and my own enjoyment, I’ll add it to this list. I made this list on Piston Powered and had to admit that no Piston will be up for these awards at league level, and as a Spurs fan it pains me to say that, but San Antonio may be in a darker situation.
There’s no chance of anyone winning MVP or Rookie of the Year, even though we fans believe in those players. Playing in a small market with a bad team doesn’t help someone win individual awards, and that’s exactly the situation Spurs have found themselves in.
Despite their inevitable bad reputation in the league, Spurs will of course have their own internal winner of each of these awards. The rest of the league may overlook the Silver and Black because of their record, but fans will have plenty to be excited about for Spurs 2022-23.
I originally wanted to give this award to Zach Collins, but unfortunately he didn’t have much of a career to look back on. Josh Richardson is not yet 30 and in his prime. He was a regular starter for the Miami Heat and was a 15 ppg guy. In Boston and San Antonio he’s come off the bench and his numbers have dropped, but I think he can get back to form this season.
I hope he doesn’t start a single game for Spurs. Younger guys like Josh Primo and Devin Vassell should be ahead of him in the lineup, and maybe both will start. But Richardson is still a productive player who, if he plays well, could be turned over for extra upsides.
It wouldn’t shock me if he was one of the first players to come off the bench, and since he’s probably the most consistent veteran on the team, the coaching staff will let him do whatever he wants on offense. .
He’s a great goalscorer and a solid defender, so if he gets the minutes there’s no reason he can’t get back to his prime. Opposing defenses will be more focused on Jakob Poeltl, Keldon Johnson and even Jeremy Sochan, so Richardson will be able to play against weaker defenders. As the team is built right now, Josh Richardson may be one of the top three players on the team, but he won’t be treated like that.
I expect great things from him while he’s on the roster.