Hometown: Saginaw, Mich.
Birthday: Jan. 20, 1981
Experience: 9 years
Draft: 2001, 5th overall by Golden State
College: Michigan State
2010-11 Salary: $14,444,443
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2010-11 Season Outlook: On one hand Jason Richardson took a step back last season, scoring just 15.7 points per game for his lowest scoring output since his second year in the NBA. He once again botched some boneheaded plays — the missed breakaway dunk against the Spurs and the failed Ron Artest box out come to mind — but Jason Richardson was an imperative part of the Suns’ success.
When J-Rich contributed at least 20 points, the Suns rarely lost last season, compiling a 31-5 overall mark in such games, including a 26-4 record in the regular season. The Suns were almost unbeatable when J-Rich gave the Suns a third option next to Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire, and with Amare gone more of the scoring load will shift to Richardson, who will be in a contract year.
Richardson’s $14.4 million expiring contract could make him a piece the Suns move for help on the interior, but it won’t be easy to replace the shooting and fast-break prowess he provides. After a half season of getting used to each other in 2008-09, Richardson gelled with Steve Nash last season and will be relied on heavily for his perimeter scoring this year.
Biography: Jason Anthoney Richardson (Jan. 20, 1981) was named Michigan’s Mr. Basketball as a preps player and earned a spot on the McDonald’s All-American team his senior year after averaging 25.3 points and 12.8 rebounds while leading Saginaw Aurthur Hill High School to the Michigan Class A title game. It was here that he developed his polished post game for a guard.
J-Rich went on to play for legendary head coach Tom Izzo at Michigan State and led the Spartans to the 2000 NCAA championship as a freshman and then the 2001 Final Four as a sophomore. He earned second-team All-American honors as a sophomore for his part in Michigan State’s big season, and still feels very connected to his school. Richardson parlayed his college success into being the No. 5 overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors.
Richardson thrived in Oakland, playing a key role on the Warriors’ 2007 “We Believe” squad that shocked the No. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks. His Golden State career also included winning a pair of Slam Dunk contests (2001-02 and 2002-03), capturing MVP honors of the 2001-02 Rookie Challenge and averaging at least 21 ppg on three separate occasions, including a career-high 23.2 in 2005-06.
J-Rich was then traded to the Charlotte Bobcats with a second-rounder for the No. 8 pick in the draft (Brandan Wright). After a non-descript year and a half in Charlotte he was traded to the Suns with Jared Dudley and a second-round pick that became Gani Lawal for Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and Sean Singletary.
J-Rich got off to a rough start in Phoenix, pleading guilty to a DUI a week and a half into his tenure with the Suns and later being pulled over for driving 90 mph in a 35 mph zone with his then-3-year-old in the backseat without a car seat over All-Star weekend.
In his spare time, Richardson likes to spin some tunes as a DJ. His stage name is DJ Factor.
Links to ValleyoftheSuns coverage of Richardson: