In the absence of Kyrie Irving, Shaun Livingston has stepped up for the Cleveland Cavaliers, proving that he could be a solid backup choice for the team at the point guard position.
Livingston skipped college and was drafted fourth overall in the 2004 NBA draft. He was picked ahead of players such as Luol Deng, Andre Iguodala, Josh Smith, Anderson Varejao and several other players who proceeded to have very successful NBA careers.
Unfortunately, Livingston’s progress was severely derailed by injuries. In 2007, he suffered one of the worst knee injuries in league history. After tearing just about every ligament in his knee, the question was not whether Livingston was going to return to basketball, but if he would ever walk again. Thankfully, his left leg was not amputated, which was a possibility, and he returned to the play NBA basketball.
Injuries have hindered him for most of his career, but he has found ways to contribute to the Cavaliers since being claimed off waivers earlier this season.
Irving has missed Cleveland’s last six games, which has opened up the door for Livingston to prove himself. In the latest absence of the team’s All-Star point guard, the 27-year-old Livingston is putting up 12.8 points, 4.5 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.
He is currently on a league minimum salary, but his versatility could land him another contract after this year. Livingston is truly unique in the way that he can control the ball, despite being 6-foot-7. He can shoot over just about every point guard in the league, which will always be a welcomed attribute to any team.
Kyrie is out indefinitely, and Livingston needs to make sure to keep playing at the same level he is right now.
Vytis is an NBA columnist for RantSports. You can follow him on Twitter here: @VytisLasaitis