I have a news for you @hooplikedrazen : Ryan Richards and Asseco Prokom Gdynia parted ways
— Emiliano Carchia (@SportandoBasket) January 29, 2013
It's unclear whether Richards decided to leave the team, which he's done in the past, or if Asseco Prokom decided, whether it's attitude or play, Richards wasn't a part of their plans. We reported back in December that Richards was on the outs with the team after a string of poor performances and was mainly riding the bench, but Carchia's tweet gave no indication why the two sides split.
So this is Richards' third team in the last year and he also left Team Great Britain shortly before the London Olympics. Obviously there's a disconnect somewhere here.
Maybe he has an attitude problem, maybe he's been dealing with some personal stuff that's made his life hell the last year or maybe it has something to do with the clubs he's playing for. We don't know, though I'm sure the Spurs have a much better idea of things than we do, and that's why I don't think we should judge Richards too harshly.
When he was playing for Lugano last season, he was putting up decent numbers before abruptly leaving the team. He didn't get a ton of run with Georgia or Poland and it's tough to say why other than he wasn't playing well when he got time.
Richards did make an appearance with the Spurs' Summer League squad and had an up and down week in Vegas. From everything we saw there were no attitude problems despite his up and down playing time. Mostly, he's just still a really raw basketball player.
Here's what now Magic Head Coach Jacques Vaughn said about Richards' play after the first game and his role on the team.
“I think Ryan needs to just continue to get better at all aspects of the game. He was physical out there on both ends of the floor," Vaughn said. "I think for a big, for us, it’s just being in the right place at the right time. Good screens, rebounding, real fundamental, doesn’t get too complicated with us.”
The sets that were being run in Summer League are similar to what's run in Austin, which is what's similar to what's run in San Antonio. Having Richards in Austin, having him do the little things Vaughn talked about, would prove whether Richards can turn his potential in to being an important contribution to a team. If not, then the Spurs move on. If he's in the system and still can't cut it, then he's out of excuses, there's no more uncertainty.
It's easy to call a guy a bust when a couple of years pass and he hasn't done much, but it's also important to remember he's only 21 years old and hasn't had the structure that would even come with playing for a college team. More to the point, it's really tough to give up on 7-foot tall guys with athleticism and NBA 3-point range unless you're absolutely sure he's not going to work out for you.