clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Season preview: How will the point guard rotation shake out?

New, comments

In Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston, and Quinn Cook, the Warriors have one of the best and deepest point guard rotations in the league

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors have had the duo of Stephen Curry and Shaun Livingston run the offense for four years now, and what a run its been. Three championships later, Curry is one of the best players alive, and Livingston has been one of the most solid reserves in the league.

Last season, the Warriors added a third point guard that is worthy of minutes to their riches: Quinn Cook. Originally on a two-way contract, he was relied upon heavily when the Warriors were dealing with a myriad of injuries. In fact, he was the team’s best playmaker for a bunch of games last season.

Going forwards, Coach Steve Kerr will look manage to Curry and Livingston’s minutes, while giving Cook some time to shine with the second unit. It’s the best collection of point guards the league has to offer.

Stephen Curry

There is not much more to say about Stephen Curry—he’s the best point guard in the league and the engine that drives the Warriors’ legendary offense.

But he’s thirty-years-old now, and since the Warriors will almost assuredly coast through the regular season, Kerr should really manage his minutes to lower the chance of injury. Curry only played 32 minutes a game last season, much less than his 37-minutes-a-game rate during the last playoffs, and I expect his per-game average to stay the same or drop. Let’s say he plays 31 minutes a game this season. He’ll play most of the first and third quarters, and the ends of the second and fourth.

Shaun Livingston

Shaun Livingston used to be one of the best backup point guards in the league, and although he has aged, he’s still quite reliable. Last regular season, Livingston simply produced less than he had in previous years at a Warrior, but he showed up in the playoffs as a capable defender and surprisingly confident scorer. At his best, he’s a smart ballhandler and passer, long defender, and excellent midrange scorer. But at age thirty-three, he might not have much gas in the tank.

Livingston only played 15.9 minutes a game last regular season, and that number should decrease this season. He should play 13 minutes a night, with time split between the point guard and shooting guard positions. Of course, that number should go up in the playoffs, when the team will really need his versatility and veteran leadership.

Because of Quinn Cook’s emergence and the relative lack of wing depth, expect Livingston to play more shooting guard than he has in previous seasons. I’d expect him to play six minutes of those thirteen at point guard, and seven minutes at shooting guard (alongside either Curry or Cook).

Quinn Cook

The Warriors truly found a gem in Quinn Cook last season. After a few years bouncing between NBA benches and the G-League, Cook showed off tremendous shooting and some playmaking chops for the Warriors. Because of various injuries to the Warriors’ stars, Cook became one of the team’s best players for a few weeks of the season.

Cook averaged 22.4 minutes a game last season, which won’t happen again absent injuries. However, expect Cook to be a stable member of the rotation during the regular season and average about 11 minutes a game. I’d try to keep his minutes separate from Curry’s, but I’d love to see him play alongside Shaun Livingston at the 2, who can offer defense and stable ballhandling to complement Cook nicely. If Cook improves his defense, he could become a member of the playoff rotation as well.

The Warriors certainly have a lot of options at point guard, and could also roll out lineups with none of these three. With other ballhandlers like Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and Kevin Durant, the Warriors could elect to go with a bigger lineup when necessary. Furthermore, these minute estimates are subject to change due to injury and rest. As long as Curry and Livingston are rested and injury-free for the playoffs, the depth at the point guard situation could not be much better.