Scouting Ryan Richards vs Lakers


Ryan RichardsOn Sunday night after the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Atlanta Hawks, I began writing a scouting report of Spurs draftee Ryan Richards.

I said that I would give a report on each of Richards’ five Summer League games with the silver and black. Unfortunately, since it is the Summer League and the Spurs have to see if there are any hidden gems on their roster, they have to play different players each night.

Tuesday’s recipient of roughly 13 minutes of action was Frenchman Alexis Ajinca. Ajinca ended the game with two points on 1-of-2 shooting, grabbed three rebounds, and committed one foul.

The result of Ajinca getting those minutes was Richards losing minutes and only logging 3:14 minutes in the second quarter. So with such a small sample of Richards, I still scouted how he did in that minimum time frame in the victory over the Lakers.

Offensive Strengths

This play was arguable. Richards received the ball at the top of the key, he then drove hard toward the paint and stopped quickly with his right arm barely in front. His defender flew about five feet and Richards was called for the offensive foul. I still give Richards props for catching the ball when the Spurs needed someone to attack the paint and he chose to do it.

Offensive Weaknesses

On one play, Richards ran into the middle of the paint and received a pass. He used a hop step to put up a hook shot and his shot was blocked. He regained control of the ball and put up another shot, that shot was also blocked by the same defender. 

On another play, I think it was Eric Dawson who set a screen, but then Richards too went and set a random screen. You could tell he was lost in the offense in that play, with more time though, he should be able to pick it up.

Defensive Strengths

One thing the Spurs did when Richards was in the game was play full court defense. Richards was able to stay and help the guards in the full court, though they didn’t make the Lakers turn the ball over, Richards showed his quickness could give the Spurs this option on defense.

Richards looked more aggressive when trying to secure rebounds. Unlike Sunday, even if Richards didn’t grab the rebound Tuesday, he was at least hustling to be in the vicinity and try to get in on the play.

As the Spurs were playing full court defense, Richards got switched onto a small forward. At first the forward tried to get by Richards, but he ended up stopping his dribble and had to pass out to another player. Then, the same player received the ball at the top of the key, Richards was still guarding him and the player took a contested 3-pointer that had no chance of going in.

Here is Richards’ state line Tuesday: 3:14 minutes, 0 points, 0-of-2 shooting, two rebounds, one personal foul and one turnover. From the three minutes that I watched Richards, he actually didn’t show a defensive weakness in the short amount of time. With the Spurs still trying to assess players through the limited Summer League schedule, one has to wonder if Richards will get his chance to show he can play at the NBA level? With 11 minutes on Sunday, we saw both the good and the bad of Richards being a raw prospect, but it left you in anticipation of wanting to see more.

From what I’ve seen two games in, I think I’m pretty comfortable that Ajinca and Luke Zeller are both who they’ve shown to be. Ajinca lacks the speed and reaction, while Zeller seems like a 3-point shooting big man who doesn’t look to have any sort of post game in his arsenal.

Will Richards get more minutes on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers? That question will remain a mystery until tip-off.

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Paul is an editor, writer and content manager for (@ProjectSpurs) and (@ATLeague_NBA). Paul is also the host of the Spurscast (@TheSpurscast). Paul has been a credentialed media member covering the San Antonio Spurs and NBA since 2011. Paul has been featured on numerous radio, tv, online and podcast shows.