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Shaun Livingston brings unique size to his position.
This is the best move of the offseason for the Warriors so far. Finding a capable backup for Stephen Curry was the biggest need for the Warriors and they got the best one on the market in Shaun Livingston.
Livingston is a seasoned veteran who in the past has proven Murphy’s Law to be correct. After a gruesome knee injury in 2007 nearly ended his career, Livingston bounced back but failed to find a consistent role on a team. That’s when the Brooklyn Nets came calling and everything fell into place.
As the season progressed, Livingston moved from a bench role to the starting lineup, filling in when Deron Williams was hurt and ultimately playing alongside of him when he returned. It wasn’t just that he played with Williams, however. It was that he was routinely outplaying him as well.
His averages last season won’t jump off the page at you—8.3 points, 3.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds—but his impact was undeniable. He picked up the slack defensively for Williams and provided a steady hand on offense, allowing Williams the chance to play off the ball more than he ever has.
Livingston fits perfectly on the Warriors because his size and abilities allow him to be a competent backup for either Curry or Thompson. Should Curry exit the game, Livingston slides into the point guard slot. Should Thompson find himself on the sidelines, Curry would simply move over to shooting guard and allow Livingston to run the offense.
Defensively, he will terrorize smaller guards with his length and fit in seamlessly with an elite wing rotation. Any lineup that features some combination of Thompson, Iguodala, Rush and himself would be one of the stingiest in the league.
The one flaw here is that Livingston is a below average shooter from deep, a rarity coming out of the Golden State backcourt. Still, as Devin Kharpertian of The Brooklyn Game explains here, Livingston always finds a way to contribute:
Shaun Livingston's finally fitting in.
Eight years ago, Shaun Livingston was a budding superstar, a No. 4 overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft criticized for not utilizing his full potential to dominate games.
But in 2014, Livingston has thrived in Brooklyn as a "glue guy," standing out in the background, creating opportunities for teammates by taking subtle responsibilities and finding open spaces.
The Warriors have more than enough shooting to compensate for Livingston and the positives he brings far outweigh the negatives. The one thing that brings this grade down a bit is that the Warriors were unable to complete a sign-and-trade before their traded-player exception expired last week.
At $9.8 million, that would have gone a long way in strengthening the team even more. Instead, the Warriors used their full mid-level exception and signed him to a three-year, $16 million deal. While he is surely worth the money, it’s an unnecessary cap hit that could have been avoided.