Shaun Livingston is the best post scorer in the NBA

Shaun Livingston is the best post scorer in the NBA

Shaun Livingston is a throwback to a time that doesn’t exist: when 6’7″ point guards dominated smaller guards on the block by rising over them with a high, unblockable shot release. Of his 11 made field goals, 5 came in post-up opportunities on just six attempts.

On 77 post-up plays this season, Livingston has averaged 1.21 points per possession, the best figure in the lead, which led to the technically-true headline. (Hello, click-baited!) Sure, he might not stop or score on Al Jefferson, but he uses his length and quickness to exploit his nightly mismatches in a variety of ways: one-handed floaters, back-down and pull-up, turnaround on the baseline, and occasionally spins free for a dunk.

Just look at Livingston’s shot chart from Friday night:


That shot chart’s more reminiscent of Brook Lopez, not Deron Williams. It’s why I’ve said before that Livingston is secretly a power forward/point guard hybrid in the Nets offense: The Nets have three shooters (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce) spaced around Livingston and Plumlee/Garnett.

Livingston has never been a perimeter shooter, but he knows it, and he uses that knowledge to his advantage. Here’s a sampling of what he told The Brooklyn Game about his inside scoring: “Guards want to go under, teams want to go under me because my perimeter or lack of shooting, but what they don’t realize is that once they go under, I’m so low, now I’m at my spot. It’s either make or miss, and if you help, now we have the kick-out for the shooters.”