Shaun Livingston is already making the Cleveland Cavaliers better, and he hasn’t even played in a game yet.
The Cavaliers signed Livingston in late December after he was waived by the Washington Wizards, and Livingston has only had a short amount of time to practice with his new team so far.
It sounds like Livingston will play in the Cavaliers game against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night, though, after dressing for but not playing in the last two games.
The 6-7 guard first entered the NBA in 2004 when he was the fourth player selected in the draft. He looked like a rising star during his rookie campaign, but his career was derailed by a devastating knee injury he suffered during the 2006-2007 season.
Livingston battled back from that injury, as well as other setbacks in the last few years, and now looks to be healthy and ready to contribute.
After his first practice with the Cavaliers, Livingston said he felt tired and out of shape, but he expected to be back in basketball shape soon. He also said that he is excited to be playing for the Cavaliers.
“There are some guys who know how to play,” Livingston said about his young teammates. Many of the players still need to learn how to make the proper reads on offense and defense, but the players are getting there. He added that he is especially impressed by guard Kyrie Irving.
“I’m still amazed as his knowledge of the game, his feel for the game,” Livingston said.
As a veteran player, Livingston explained that he is trying to share some of his knowledge with his younger teammates. He said it is important to help the young players through tough spots in the season and help them remain steady and calm.
And while the Cavaliers have been losing a lot more than they are winning, Livingston said he sees a lot of positives with this team and said it is important that the players keep learning and maturing throughout the season.
Livingston looks like he can help the players with this, both in games and in practices. He is hoping to play against Sacramento, and will be available to play point guard or shooting guard as needed.
“I was impressed,” Head Coach Byron Scott said after watching his new guard practice with the team. “He just knows how to play basketball.”
Scott added that Livingston sees the floor very well on offense and defense, and he is expecting him to help the team in numerous ways.
Now the Cavaliers are entering 2013 with a record of just 7 – 25, and Livingston is not going to suddenly turn them into contenders.
What he can do, though, is help the team improve right now and in the future.
One big problem this year has been the inconsistent play of the bench, and Livingston should help solve that problem immediately. If the second unit can do a better job of giving the team a spark or at least holding steady, it is going to help the Cavaliers win more games.
The Cavaliers have also lost a lot of games late in the fourth quarter, and it may be key to have another veteran like Livingston on the floor in some of these late game situations in order to help the team pick up a few more victories.
Finally, Livingston has been through a great deal in his career already, and his presence should help the younger players grow and become better players for years to come. The team has a good foundation that just needs to keep maturing and improving, and Livingston should be a big help.