The Warriors have made their first official signing of free agency, coming to terms with former Brooklyn Net guard Shaun Livingston.
Yahoo Sources: Golden State, Shaun Livingston agree on a 3-year, $16M free agent deal. https://t.co/tcRVpBQYaz
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2014
Livingston fills the Warriors need of a guard who can contribute off the bench behind Stephen Curry. He had one of his best seasons last year backing up Deron Williams in Brooklyn, averaging 8.3 points per game, dishing out 3.2 assists and grabbing 3.2 rebounds, in an average of 26 minutes. At times Livingston even looked better than Williams, and the Warriors front office believes that he can continue that level of play.
At 6’7″, Livingston creates matchup problems on both ends of the floor. He shot the ball at a high percentage last season (granted he doesn’t take many shots) posting a 48.6% FG average. He also uses his size to get to the free throw line, something that the Warriors desperately need. Livingston’s free throw attempt rate (number of FT’s attempted per FG attempt) was 39.2% last year. The only Warrior that played significant time last season and had a better percentage was Jermaine O’Neal.
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The biggest hole in Livingston’s game is his three point shooting: he’s attempted a total of 49 three-pointers in his entire career averaging 20.4% from long distance. With that being said, the Warriors don’t necessarily need a guy who can shoot from the outside (especially if they can trade for Love). What they do need is someone who can get to the free throw line as well as give Stephen Curry a breather without a significant drop off of production at the point guard position.
Curry’s PER (a measurement of player efficiency), was 24.1 last season. Curry’s backup, Steve Blake, had a PER of 9.4.
For what it’s worth, Curry seemed to be pleased with the signing:
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 2, 2014
The biggest question is whether or not the Warriors got the best bang for their buck. We’ll see in the next few days as other guys that I personally was hoping the Warriors would sign, Rodney Stuckey and Ramon Sessions in particular, get from their respective teams. The Warriors used their entire mid-level exception to sign Livingston, which means that they can sign two more players at the league minimum and trade for a player using their trade-exception worth ~$6 million if they want to keep from going over the luxury cap.
For the Warriors/Livingston marriage to be a happy one, Livingston is going to have to prove that he can run the offense efficiently when Curry is out of the game. When Curry was on the bench, the Warriors noticeably stalled. The Warriors hope that Livingston can change that.