Houston Rockets Draft Prospect Series: Malachi Richardson

Apr 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Malachi Richardson (23) reacts after a play during the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the 2016 NCAA Men
Apr 2, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Malachi Richardson (23) reacts after a play during the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the 2016 NCAA Men /

An intriguing prospect whose stock seems to be all over the place ,the Syracuse Orange project Malachi Richardson could land anywhere from a lottery pick to an early second round. Could it be possible that the shooting guard falls into Houston Rockets’ lap in the second round? And if so what can he add to a team desperate for renovation?

Draft Prospect


The Syracuse Orange small forward Malachi Richardson is being touted as a player with one of the most fluid stocks in the 2016 NBA Draft.

It will all lie on the needs of the teams looking at him as a prospect. If there’s a team looking for a nice enough scorer that can create his own shots, go to the free throw line and contribute right now (and there’s a lot of teams in this situation) then they might go to Malachi Richardson early.

However if the team’s main concern is finding an athletic strong defender then Richardson – who is a decent shot-blocker but not much else – will most likely slide on draft night.


(as per NBA Draft Combine)

  • Height: 6’6″
  • Weight: 200 lbs
  • Country: USA
  • Position: Small Forward / Shooting Guard
  • Age: 20
  • Reach: 8’5″
  • Wingspan: 7’0″
  • College or Pro League: Syracuse, Freshman
  • Stat line: 37 Games, 13.4 Points Per Game, 4.3 Rebounds Per Game, 2.1 Assists Per Game, 1.2 Steals Per Game, 35.3 3P%, 36.9 FG%, 72.0 FT%

Current Rank

CBS Sports Gary Parrish: 24

Draft Express: 31

NBA Draft.net: 14

Fox Sports: 21

The Skills

Perhaps due to sharing the same position and college, people compare Malachi Richardson to Carmelo Anthony. It’s true they share some similarities: they both like shooting the ball, have good balance and footwork.

To wit Malachi also has an even quicker release than Melo. He is also great at drawing fouls and driving through traffic to the basket in which he resembles Houston Rockets very own James Harden.

He played as a SF in college but will probably have to settle as a shooting guard in the NBA which will likely give him advantages in isolation situations shooting the ball over his defender due to his insane 7’0” wingspan.

Awards and Honors

McDonald’s All-American (2015)

ACC All-Freshman Team (2016)

ACC Freshman of the Week (1/25/2016)

The Fit

Malachi Richardson really plays very similarly to James Harden as you can see in the video below.

He seeks the defender’s contact, draws the foul and goes to the charity stripe consistently. If selected by the Rockets I can see him playing 5 to 10 minutes a night in his first year, subbing in for Harden playing in the last minutes of decided games.

He could be a good bench player who puts up a couple points whenever the team needs some scoring. And with the Rockets needing production coming from the bench anyway they can get it, then there’s no harm having one or two players capable of creating their own shot, occasionally getting to the free throw line and contributing exclusively on the offensive end.

Final Thoughts

There’s absolutely no iconcensus where Malachi Richardson will land in the 2016 NBA Draft. Not even his former coach the extra experienced Jim Boeheim has any idea:

"“Where (Richardson is) going to go in the draft, trust me, nobody has a clue right now” – Jim Boeheim."

Mock drafts rank him anywhere from 14 to 40. All this fluctuation does reflect some trouble in terms of evaluating his real talent and NBA readiness.

With the Houston Rockets pretty set on the shooting guard department and with James Harden playing over 38 minutes per game I find it hard to believe that Daryl Morey selects a player like Malachi Richardson. Further he has a very similar skill set  (not a great one might I add – 51.6 true shooting percentage second lowest of any player projected to be drafted) and doesn’t play defense very well.

Therefore if available I’m of the opinion that the Houston Rockets should probably pass on the opportunity of drafting Richardson.

Next: Complete list of 2016 -2017 Free Agents

Next: Rockets Fans Speak - the Series

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