While Shaun Livingston could bring championship pedigree to the Philadelphia 76ers at backup point guard, his lack of an outside shot is problematic.
On Tuesday night, the Golden State Warriors officially waived backup point guard Shaun Livingston after five seasons of service with the club – formally making the soon-to-be 34-year-old the most decorated and experienced point guard left on the depleted free agent market.
Now this move shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to basketball fans, as the team did sign-and-trade for D’Angelo Russell and need every possible dollar to cut the roster in free agency, but still, Livingston’s release welcomes a gullet of new possibilities for teams looking to bolster their backcourt with an experienced veteran guard.
However, one team that shouldn’t kick the tires on the 15-year vet is the Philadelphia 76ers.
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Now sure, the team could use help at backup point guard, as Shake Milton has been, well, shaky as a lead guard over his Summer League stretch, and Raul Neto has averaged less than 40 games a season since 2016, but despite having Elton Brand-approved size, measuring in at 6-foot-7, 192 pounds, Livingston would be a horrible fit with the Sixers.
Why? Easy: He can’t shoot.
Well technically that’s not true, as Livingston is a career 48.6 percent shooter from the field and 79.8 percent shooter from the free charity stripe, he just can’t shoot 3s.
And worst of all, he doesn’t even attempt them.
In his career, Livingston has only attempted 73 3 point shots over 833 games, making a measly 13 of them for a ghastly 17.8 shooting percentage.
Playing for a team like the Warriors – loaded with a bevy of 3 point shooting assassins, both in the starting five and on the bench – Livingston could still exist as a 17.5 minutes a game facilitator, but unfortunately, Philly hasn’t been blessed with such a luxury.
With only two players on the Sixers roster who knocked down more than 40 percent of their 3 point shots last season, in former Clippers forwards Tobias Harris and Mike Scott, there’s no one particularly impressive that Livingston can pass the ball to and expect much more than a league-average look.
Furthermore, in the years where Golden State competed for championships, Livingston never even attempted more than 5.1 shots from the field a game, with that number dipping to a career-low 3.3 in 2018-19.
Just for context, T.J. McConnell took almost twice as many shots a game (5.5) while only playing 4.2 more minutes a night.
While this obviously isn’t great, it’s not like Livingston makes up for his offensive inefficiency by being a plus-defender, as last season he earned a -0.09 Real Plus-Minus – good for the 33rd best mark among point guards.
Sure, Livingston still has size and could optimize what’s left in the tank in a switch-happy defensive scheme due to his position flexibility, but if being a slightly above league average defender is your calling card at the tender age of 34 (come September), it’s hard to be particularly excited about a player’s prospects moving forward.
Though he could be a useful player to the Philadelphia 76ers as a flexible second unit floor general with size, speed, and switchability, as the team does have a number of young high-upside scorers who could benefit from his floor vision and passing acumen, Shaun Livingston isn’t the type of player Elton Brand should be targeting right now, as he just doesn’t have the scoring acumen to make much of a difference in 2019-20 on anything more than a veteran minimum deal.
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