Last season, Shaun Livingston played 76 games for the Brooklyn Nets. Livingston had a positive impact on both sides of the ball. Initially signed to be franchise point guard, Deron Williams struggled to stay healthy last season and his numbers were not as impressive. Livingston started the season playing less than 20 minutes per game, but his play eventually forced coach Jason Kidd to adapt his lineup and increase Livingston’s role. His versatility allowed coach Kidd to insert him into the Nets starting lineup at the shooting guard position. Livingston’s insertion into the starting five was one of the catalysts for the Net’s season turn around. In games Livingston started, the Nets were 35-19 as opposed to 9-19 when he did not. By the season’s end, per nbawowy.com, the Nets offensive rating was +1.5 greater when he was on the floor and defensive rating was -4.2 lower.
Let’s take a look at what Livingston’s role could be with the Warriors next year.
Livingston’s shot chart won’t be mistaken for a splash brother. Living mostly inside of 15 feet, Livingston shot 56.6% inside of 3 feet, 46.7% from 3 to 10 feet, and 44.8% from 10-15 feet (per basketball-reference). Inside of 15 feet made up 93.8% of all shot attempts. Though Livingston did note he plans to take more 3s, it’s not a staple of his game to date.
@RichH0mieQuinn To shoot more 3’s and to help make the guys better. Championship
— Shaun Livingston (@ShaunLivingston) July 19, 2014
Zach Harper of CBS Sports provides a detailed look at Livingston and shows us the various ways he gets his offense. Harper specifically notes Livingston’s post up ability (he ranked first in points per possessions via post ups per synergy sports), and ability out of the pick and roll. Warriorsworld asked Devin Kharpertian of thebrooklyngame.com, how the Warriors could utilize Livingston and he noted:
“I think he’s an intriguing “inverted post” option to put next to (Stephen) Curry, especially to spell (Andre) Iguodala. He’s like a point guard/power forward hybrid.”
Despite running many post-ups last season, the Warriors were not very efficient. Having a 6-foot-7 point guard capable of posting up smaller defenders effectively will dramatically improve this year’s second unit, which struggled to get any semblance of competent offense last year.
In addition to posting up, Livingston is adept at attacking a defense off the dribble or through a pick and roll. Anticipate seeing him next to both Curry and Klay Thompson, similar to Jarrett Jack’s role in 2012-13. Like Jack, Livingston will benefit from the spacing and attention Curry and Thompson provide and should be able to get good looks at his preferred spots. Unlike Jack, Livingston rarely over-dribbles or tries to take over the game. He is aware of his spots and if he doesn’t have the look he wants, he’ll move the ball.
Last year he often played next to a ball dominant point guard, Williams, and a shooting guard, Joe Johnson who liked to create with the ball as well. Livingston was comfortable playing off the wing, slashing and making quick decisions. This adaptability will make it easy for Livingston to contribute as both the primary playmaker in second unit lineups, or as a secondary playmaker with Curry.
Standing 6-7 with a 6-11 wingspan, Livingston’s flexibility guarding multiple positions is the key asset. Kharpertian described Livingston as:
“a great versatile defender with really good timing on steals (both on and off the ball) and good for the occasional chasedown block.”
In a twitter Q&A, Livingston himself notes he can play both but he can read the play better off ball. This is a welcome addition to the Warriors, as only Iguodala was comfortable guarding wings off ball. Thompson and Harrison Barnes often got lost running off screens when asked to guard the best wing on the opposing team. To reference this point, the Warriors opponents scored +7.5 points per 100 possessions, shot more 3s and a higher FG% when Iguodala was off the floor (per nbawowy.com).
He has excellent anticipation and knows how to utilize his length and quickness to both disrupt passing lanes and contest shots. Livingston’s intelligence as a defender shows here as he describes his game saving steal against the Miami Heat:
Watch here to see a variety of the type of plays he can make on both ends of the floor:
Thank you to the Devin Kharpertian and the Brooklyn Game.
Sources from: CBSsports.com, thebrooklyngame.com, nbawowy.com, basketball-reference.com, nyloncalculus.com