While Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving is out with an injury, it’s a good time to appreciate Shaun Livingston as a player.
It’s also a good time to realize how smart it was of management to sign Livingston after he was waived by the Washington Wizards during the season.
Livingston is starting in place of Irving at point guard, and is doing a nice job filling in for the All-Star. In fact, he’s been a solid player ever since the Cavaliers signed him, and it makes you wonder why in the world the Wizards ever waived him.
At 6-7 and with long arms, Livingston can cause match-up problems for the other team’s guards, and he is also a very good defender. He’s also a smart veteran who knows how to run the offense and is able to go inside to score when needed.
He’s not as explosive as he was when he was a rookie and looked like he was going to take the NBA by storm, but he’s looking great considering all of the knee problems that he has had in his career.
With the Cavaliers this season, Livingston is scoring 6.1 points per game and is passing out 3.4 assists per game. He is averaging 20.7 minutes per game. With Irving out over the next few weeks, Livingston’s minutes and all of his statistics are bound to increase and will likely push toward some of his career highs.
He is currently shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 83 percent from the free throw line.
When Irving is healthy, Livingston is the perfect back-up point guard for the Cavaliers. He can come into the game and lead the second unit, and he is a huge part of the reason why the bench play has been so much improved since the season began.
Because he is an excellent defender, Livingston can also stay on the floor late in the fourth quarter when Irving is also in. Livingston can be a key rebounder and defender in those situations, and his veteran presence can also be very important.
Livingston also fits in well with the starting unit now that Irving is out. He is not a prolific scorer like Irving, but he can score when needed and he is able to make sure the offense runs as it should. His move to the starting lineup hurts the second unit, but with Irving out the Cavaliers don’t have any other choice.
The Cavaliers were smart to pick up Livingston during the season, and fans should appreciate the strong play he has given the team.
The Cavaliers will be better when Irving is healthy and back in the starting lineup, but for now it’s good to see Livingston get some starts. He deserves to start, and it will be interesting to see what kind of numbers he can put up over the next few weeks.