Now a two-time champion, Shaun Livingston has capped off a third season with the Golden State Warriors. Like Andre Iguodala, he’s become a reliable and steady presence off the bench and a key part of the Warriors’ championship formula. He has always been an effective player and the 2016-2017 season was no exception.
Despite playing on a team known for the three-ball, Livingston essentially refuses to shoot three-pointers. In fact, his lone made three this past season was a “botched” lob. At the end of the season, 99.1% of his made field goals were two-pointers and more than half of those were in the 10 to 16 foot range.
Clearly a master of the mid-range, Livingston actually managed to shoot a career high field goal percentage of .547 last season. On top of that, he shot a playoff career high of .567.
Livingston is an anomaly among the league’s point guards. Standing at 6 feet 7 inches, the whip-skinny point guard is more at home with his back to the basket than he is jacking up shots around the perimeter. But with a sure and steady handle, he can be trusted to bring the ball up the floor and run the offense.
Livingston’s offensive repertoire consists of two main components. When playing off the ball, he roams the baseline, cutting into the lane for wide-open dunks and lay-ups off interior passes from his teammates. But when he’s creating for himself, Livingston prefers to back down smaller guards and unleash a near-unblockable turnaround jumper. Both of these scenarios often place opposing point guards in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar position.
His unorthodox game was on display during the Warriors’ playoff run.
Defensively, he brings his height to the table, allowing Steve Kerr to play length lineups. The lineup that Livingston was featured in the most during the 2016-2017 regular season put the long-limbed point guard alongside Iguodala, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and David West. This gangly line-up essentially allowed for a switch-everything defensive scheme that swallowed teams up in key moments.
In fact, there were several games last season where the veterans -- Livingston, Iguodala, and West -- were responsible for getting the Warriors engaged when the starters were under-performing.
Speculation as to whether Livingston would return ended quickly as the Warriors signed him to a three year, $24 million contract soon before re-signing Iguodala. With West also on board, the Warriors will have a solid veteran bench presence to help in the development of younger Warriors.
Livingston plays limited minutes in order to keep him fresh and it remains to be seen how the next few years will go as he gets older. But considering his incredibly high basketball IQ and the fact that his game isn’t based on any extreme athleticism, he should age well and continue to be an effective bench player for the next few years.
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