Last summer the Brooklyn Nets decided to make veteran guard Shaun Livingston a part of their team by signing him to a one year contract.
After a season in which the 28-year-old made contributions in a few different roles, they should do their best to try bringing him back for at least another year or two after he becomes a free agent this offseason.
The numbers may not have been gaudy or overly surprising by any means – 9.1 points, and an average of 3.1 in both assists in rebounds – but it was evident throughout 2013-14 that Livingston’s impact was quite unique.
His high basketball IQ is visible in all phases of the game, which seems like something that’s becoming harder and harder to come by these days. Why else could the Nets be as successful as they were with Livingston starting alongside Deron Williams as a shooting guard even though he’s always preferred the playing point?
At 6-foot-7, Livingston is well aware that he has a height advantage on most opponents at his position, and he constantly takes advantage of that by playing the post with force and shooting over the top of them. He also has a knack for getting in the paint off the dribble and finishing/drawing fouls.
But what might make Livingston even more valuable is his defensive versatility. Not only does he have the quickness to stick with most guards, but his remarkable wingspan gives them even more problems. That length doesn’t only bother guards either. Livingston was creating issues for even LeBron James from time to time the other night.
The Nets would love to re-sign Livingston for all these reasons, but it’s not going to be easy. If they want to continue starting him, they’re going to have to pay him starter-type money. That’s likely to become even more difficult when one of the lower-tier teams becomes willing to overpay for his services.
He’s no star, but if the Nets can convince Livingston to stick around after this season, they’ll be quite glad they did.