Jason Richardson Back In Phoenix Relishing The Underdog Role

Jason looked good today in his first day back. He seemed happy to be on the court with his teammates and he was dangerous on the floor in five-on-five scrimmages. He looked surprisingly locked-in.

Over the summer, he said he's worked on his mid-range shot because he expects to be chased off the three-point line more. He also worked on his ball handling and getting to the basket more. He mostly worked with a friend, but also spent a few weeks with training guru Idan Ravin.

That was on evidence today in Jason's first day of informal workouts when he split two defenders with a spin move and finished with a reverse to beat a third. It was a "wow"-inducing move.

Jason said he doesn't see any more pressure on himself to score with Amare gone, but he does hope to be more of an option for the team on the offensive end.

"I'm ready for that. Most of my career, I was always a one or two option. It wouldn't be nothing new if I could go back to that role having the ball in my hands, getting the ball to score baskets and being one of the main guys to score baskets for us," he said.

It's been a busy offseason for Jason and the Suns. Richardson traveled to South Africa to take in the World Cup and then later to China as part of his new deal with Chinese shoe manufacturer Peak. The shoes are on sale in China, but not yet available in the U.S.

Jason was wearing his new purple Peak shoes today that have his initials on the back and an image of him dunking embroidered on the top. Ironically, Jason said it was taken from a photo of a dunk he missed in one of his dunk contest appearances. 

For the Suns, of course, there were massive changes in the front office, along with the departure of Amare and Leandro and the addition of Josh Childress, Hedo Turkoglu and Hakim Warrick.

Jason compared Childress to former Sun Shawn Marion as an energy guy who can rebound, get to the basket and use his length and athleticism on the defensive end.  

"Hedo, we already know what he can do. He had a down year in Toronto, but he's getting back to that style like in Orlando where he can get up and down, he can handle the ball, he can play a little bit of point guard. He can do a lot of things," Jason said.

Jason thinks this year's team can be as good as last year's and he's relishing the underdog role again.

"I was just telling Grant (Hill). We're in the same boat as year, but even more. People don't expect us to do anything this year. I love that we're the underdogs. No pressure on us, we can go out there and have fun and learn each other and get ready and just try and win as many games as possible."

Other Jason Notes:

 

  • Richardson understands that the Suns are undersized again and he's happy to contribute what he can on that front.
  • J-Rich said he's not feeling any additional pressure being in a contract year. There have been preliminary talks with the Suns about an extension, but nothing recent or serious. He said he would love to remain in Phoenix and retire as a Sun, but, "I'm always a firm believer [that] if you work hard, things will come out your way, so continue to work and things will happen."
  • Hedo was in town today, but didn't participate in the voluntary workouts. He did watch for awhile. Incorporating his game and personality into the team is going to be a big challenge for this training camp. Jason said the great chemistry the team had last year was based on being friends off the court. 
  • "We had that type of chemistry off the court and it carries on to the court. It's easy, so I think if we establish a good chemistry off the court, we will have the same results as we did last year."
  • According to Jason, it happens from spending time together in weight room and other places where they can joke around. He says he knows both Hedo and Josh a bit already and thinks they are great guy who will fit in fine.

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