The Golden State Warriors have a luxury many teams don’t. They have a player that will start on half the team’s roster sitting on the bench, happy to be backing up arguably the NBA’s best player. This is why Shaun Livingston may be the Warriors MVP.
He won’t be voted into the All-Star game and that’s just fine with him. Livingston plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played, for fun. It didn’t start that way but after a tragic event concerning his leg a few years ago, he almost lost his dream and it changed the way he viewed his job. Many may not know this but Livingston is an 11-year vet.
He has been with the Nets, Clippers, Heat, Thunder, Bucks, Bobcats, Wizards, Cavs and the Warriors. For most players, that would’ve been it. The uncertainty of the NBA can be a drag on one’s life but, when you come close to losing it, you learn to appreciate it and understand how privileged you are. It truly humbles you.
Livingston is not your 20 point a night scorer but he will fill that stat sheet on an opposing team quickly. He doesn’t look for his shot, he looks to get his teammates in positions so they can find their shots. When I think of PG’s he is one of the players that always comes to mind. There are some backups that look to score the moment they get in the game, feeling that’s their only opportunity to get their name in the books and contribute.
But true PG’s, the kind that few teams actually have understands the difference between being a playmaker and being able to make a play. Livingston has the tools to be both, but he chooses to be a playmaker. At 6-7. he stands taller than most point guards and his handles are very underrated. He’s still lighting quick to the basket with a first step that can rival Tim Hardaway’s’, but it’s his vision and desire that sets him apart from the rest.
How many championships did Curry, Thompson, and Green have before Livingston got there? Exactly. Media and fans only see the glitz of a team or player, it takes a keen eye to see what goes on behind the scenes. That is where you will find Livingston, in the background, helping the second unit keep that 10 point lead the starters built. Letting Kerr know that it’s okay to rest Curry for the night against Westbrook or Paul. He can handle them.
A backup doesn’t need to score 15 on a nightly basis to get a pat on his back. He must be the one willing to go that extra mile. That when his teammates and coaches look over the stat sheet, they nod his way in approval, giving thanks.