When Bob Myers and the Golden State Warriors signed Shaun Livingston in the summer, they expected the point guard to play like the guy who started 54 games for the Brooklyn Nets as he helped lead them to the playoffs.
Unfortunately for the Dubs, the 6’7″ Livingston has not lived up to expectations.
But in Wednesday’s 102-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, Livingston showed what he can really do. In 27 minutes of action, he scored 26 points and dished out six assists. He also finished the game at +14 which was tops on the team.
Livingston looked good on both ends of the floor. Playing with the second unit, though he does have Andre Iguodala and David Lee, Livingston is the primary ball handler and playmaker. Many of the offensive possessions with Livingston and the bench on the floor generally end up with the tall guard posting up a smaller defender. The offense will go into stretches where it can’t score and Livingston has shouldered much of the blame.
Last night, Livingston played how everyone has expected him to. In going with a smaller lineup, Steve Kerr played Livingston alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Iguodala, and Draymond Green. Defensively, this unit switches nearly every screen. It was on the offensive side of the ball that Livingston truly shined. Playing alongside outside threats, Livingston was able to get around the court and had plenty of opportunities to get to the rim.
Livingston’s willingness to drive and kick actually works when he has shooters who will shoot the long ball. In a lineup where he wasn’t always playing on-ball, Livingston cut off ball which resulted in several dunks for him.Mar 4, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston (34) dunks the ball against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 102-93. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Livingston missed training camp recovering from toe surgery and has played with various units as players’ health statuses change and Kerr experiments. He hasn’t gotten much run with the Splash Brothers like Jarrett Jack (who recently hit a game-winner over Golden State) did.
It seems as if that’s where he’s best suited though.
Late in games, when the Warriors need to buckle down defensively, expect to see more of No. 34 out there with that group. He allows the best shooting backcourt in the world to become spot up shooters and provides great length.
Coming off what is arguably his best performance (or at least one of them) in a Warriors uniform, look for Livingston to continue his improved play as of late as the Dubs get ready for the home stretch.