When you lose a guy like Steph Curry, its tough filling those shoes. We’re talking a guy that averaged 30.1 points per game that can get any shot he wants at any time. Usually when your back-up comes in to replace a guy of that caliber, he tries to compensate for what’s missing. Taking uncharacteristic shots, trying to score loads of points and just doing things that he hasn’t done all season. And fortunately, the Golden State Warriors have been blessed enough to have a guy like Shaun Livingston who has done the complete opposite.
During this playoff run, it has been an enjoyment to watch Livingston operate. Of course we all miss Steph Curry and the excitement that he brings but watching Shaun Livingston step in there and play his game has been great. This guy knows exactly who he is and what he can do on the floor. He hasn’t tried to bomb threes like the former MVP or tried to take over games. He’s gone out there night in and night out and ran the offense and got his same looks that he has all season long.
Shaun Livingston loves his inside shots and he has stuck to that same narrative this postseason. Just shooting the ball so efficiently and staying true to who he is. Of course he’s not the same threat that Steph Curry is but he’s definitely no slouch, especially when he gets the ball inside. Turnaround jumpers are his bread and butter and during this postseason, he’s shooting .818 on 9-11 when taking those turnarounds. His size makes that shot un-guardable simply because there’s not many point guards of that stature that can even contest it.
Livingston has played his role, even in the starting position. And that’s to run the offense, get out in transition when possible, use his 6’7 length defensively and punish his shorter defenders on the offensive end when the opportunity comes. Statistically, his production has gone up in almost every category but what must not get overlooked is that he has remained just as efficient.
He’s averaging double the points while increasing his assist average. 12 points per game may not look too eye-popping to many but that’s all that’s required from him. With a Golden State team that’s so deep and talented, Livingston being Livingston works just fine. The players and the coaching staff realize that he presents a completely different skill set than Curry but their 100% okay with that and they’ve appreciated it entirely, especially Steve Kerr:
“We’d be dead without him,” Kerr said.
“Honestly, if you lose the MVP, you better have somebody capable to come in,” Kerr said. “Shaun is obviously more than just capable. He’s a great player in his own right.”
Shaun Livingston’s career has been one hell of a roller coaster so its great to see how much he has progressed. Young ball players out there can learn a lot from Livingston on knowing what their capable of and what their roles are on the floor. Being true to yourself and to your game can get your far and it has gotten Livingston and the Warriors to a 2-1 lead over the Portland Trail Blazers. It’s still up in the air whether Steph Curry will return for Game 4 but whether he does or not, Golden State is confident knowing they have Shaun Livingston running the point.