A look back: Shaun Livingston’s productive play in the 2016 playoffs

Shaun Livingston was perhaps the best version of himself during the 2016 NBA Playoffs.

Livingston was in his second year with the Golden State Warriors, the most feared team in the NBA that season. Golden State had a historic regular season, going 73-9 to set the record for most wins in a season.

An unfortunate knee injury hampered Livingston early in his career, but his resilience and perseverance is clear. He went on to play 11 more seasons after suffering the injury in the 2006-07 campaign, and some of his best years were with the Warriors.

Being on a title contender, he had a defined role during the 2016 postseason. He was to lead the second unit’s offense, meaning to score when necessary and set up his teammates.

One of Livingston’s best series was the first round, when the Warriors played the Houston Rockets.

Livingston played 26.9 minutes per game and averaged 13.2 points, tied for third on the team with Draymond Green. Livingston was second in assists per game (4.8) that series behind Green.

Throughout that postseason, Livingston played 21.4 minutes a game and averaged 8.2 points, his second-highest playoff average. Livingston also dished 3.3 assists per game, the most he had in any of his postseasons with Golden State.

The first round was filled with solid performances for Livingston, but the NBA Finals was where he shined.

Livingston had one of his best games ever in Game 1 of the Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, scoring a playoff career-high 20 points as the Warriors won 104-89. He led the Warriors in scoring that game, and his midrange jumper was blossoming.

Standing at 6-foot-7, Livingston used his length to back down opposing wings in the post during the Finals, and he’d rise for midrange shots.

According to Basketball Reference, Livingston shot 50% of his 2-point field goals from 10-16 feet of the hoop. He shot 42.9% from that area, with his midrange jumper being a key part of his arsenal.

Livingston didn’t score in double figures again the rest of that series, but his impact was felt in other ways. He averaged 2.9 assists, the highest of any Warriors player who didn’t start in any games. Livingston also grabbed 3.4 rebounds per game, ranking fifth on the team.

The Warriors lost the historic Finals, but Livingston was arguably at his peak. That midrange jumper was lethal in the Finals, and he was one of Golden State’s best reserves because of it.

Livingston isn’t too far removed from the game, as he retired in September 2019. A three-time champion, Livingston finished his career as one of the most reliable backup point guards in the league.

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