Sacramento Kings Season Grades: Malachi Richardson

Dec 14, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Malachi Richardson (5) shoots the ball as Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) defends during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 14, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Malachi Richardson (5) shoots the ball as Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) defends during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

This series examines the Sacramento Kings players’ most recent season giving them a performance grade.  Today we will take a look at Malachi Richardson.

The 2016-2017 season for the Sacramento Kings is now in the books.  No more games, no more resting, and no more on-court excitement.  To begin the long offseason, we will first look back at this season.  We will be running a series grading each player’s performance this season.

The first man on the list is Malachi Richardson.  Richardson’s rookie season lasted only 22 games and he is still just 21 years old, so this by no means is the final assessment on him, but let us take a closer look at his performance this year to see where it grades out.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: For this series, the players on the Kings will be graded on a curve, meaning that the grades handed out to each player reflect more about their ranking on the team rather than their actual performance grade. 

OFFENSE: Grade- D-

Let us first just take a look at the numbers he produced this season.  Richardson averaged just 9.0 minutes per game in his 22 games played.  In that time, he produced 0.4 three-pointers made, 0.5 assists, and 3.6 points per game.  The shooting percentages were worrisome at 41.2 % from the field, 28.6% from three-point land, and 78.9% from the foul line.  None of those numbers are eye-popping and even his per 36 numbers are not great.

I tried to find a silver lining by looking at Malachi Richardson’s season highs, but even those were not pretty.  His season high in minutes was 27 on February 15 in a blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors.  Richardson’s other season-high outputs in a game were 12 points, 2 assists, and 1 three-pointer made.  Below is a highlight video from his 12 point game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The most disappointing stat to me was the three-point percentage.  I thought Richardson would shoot better from three and this is an area of his game he needs to work on in order to get minutes in the current NBA.


The defensive statistics were not a great deal better this season.  He averaged 1 rebound, 0.2 steals, and 0.0 blocks per game in those 9 minutes a night.  The advanced metrics liked his defensive ability a little bit.  He earned positive 0.1 win shares on defense this season according to Basketball Reference.  It is a difficult thing to examine in such limited playing time, but a positive season in an otherwise bleak season for the rookie.

His defensive statistic season-highs were 7 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block throughout the season.  He only blocked 1 shot and managed 5 steals all regular season.

OVERALL 2016-2017: Grade- D

It was difficult to grade Malachi Richardson on such a small sample.  Just when he started getting in games and ramping up his minutes, he suffered a hamstring injury that ended his season.  Fortunately, the injury does not appear to be a long-term issue and he should return healthy next season.

MUST READ: The Sacramento Kings are Large and In Charge

He will need to improve and prove himself early in the preseason in order to earn minutes next season.  The Kings have some wing depth and Richardson is unproven at this level.  I think Malachi is up for the challenge though, but only time will tell the story.

Final Thoughts

Admittedly, I went into the season thinking Malachi Richardson could be a piece of the Kings’ future core.  I liked his swagger and shooting ability during his time at Syracuse and despite the poor grade, this season did not ruin that.  He needs to stay healthy and expand his game, but the potential is there to grow into a role player on the next great Kings’ squad.

Malachi Richardson spent 11 games in the D-League this season and he played well for the Reno Bighorns.  Richardson averaged 21 points and 2.0 three-pointers made on 42.6% from the field, 44.0 from three-point land, and 76.3% from the charity stripe.  He will need to improve from the field and the line, but if he can even shoot 38% in the NBA from three, he will have a career in the league.  His D-League stint did not factor into the grade but provides a little positivity on his season.  Hopefully, we see a big improvement from Malachi Richardson next season.

Next: Skal Labissiere Shows Why He’s The Prototypical NBA Big

A Royal Pain has you covered with all the Sacramento Kings content this offseason, so please check back with us often.  Thank you for reading.