Shaun Livingston vs. Matthew Dellavedova
*Photo via USA Today
Shaun Livingston, Point Guard, Golden State Warriors
5.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.7 APG, 55.6 FG%, 0.0 3P%, 0.4 STL, 0.2 BLK, 1.0 TOV
Standing at six foot seven, Shaun Livingston provides versatility as a backup lead guard. If Steve Kerr needs size in the backcourt but also wants to move Stephen Curry off ball, Livingston can fill both roles. Livingston’s size and length allow him to defend positions one through three, with opponents shooting 31.0 percent when defended by him. Livingston is shooting 73.1 percent within eight feet of the basket this postseason, which is way above the league average of 54.1 percent.
It seems like everyone on the Golden States roster can shoot three pointers. However, Livingston is not one of those players. He’s attempted two shots from downtown the entire season and missed both. With a career three-point percentage of 19.6 in the regular season, it’s probably best that Livingston does most scoring damage from inside the arc. He’s not the most athletic guard, but he makes up for it by making the correct basketball play majority of the time.
Matthew Dellavedova, Point Guard, Cleveland Cavaliers
7.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 2.6 APG, 38.6 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 0.1 STL, 0.0 BLK, 1.4 TOV
Dellavedova ‘s biggest strength is in his reputation as a possible dirty/reckless player. He’s been involved in 2 incidents where the opposing player was ejected from the contest after reacting to Dellavedova. The play involving Al Horford during game three of the Eastern Conference Finals in which Horford dropped the peoples elbow on Delly was partly due to Horford believing Dellavedova has a track record for being dirty. If players on the Golden State Warriors have Dellavedova’s reputation in the back of their minds, Delly already has a mental advantage.
Dellavedova’s biggest weakness is also his biggest strength. Referees are aware of his reputation as a dirty/reckless player and may look to call the game tightly when he’s in the game, which could result in him picking up ticky-tack fouls. With Kyrie Irving dealing with injuries, Delly will be called upon to play big minutes and can’t succumb to foul trouble. Delly is also praised as being a pesky defense player, but opponents have shot similar percentages against him when compared to other defenders. He’s a below average shooter from the field, but is ranked sixth in three-pointers made among all point guards this postseason.
As far as an advantage in this matchup goes, you could look at this from a consistency perspective or a ceiling perspective. Shaun Livingston is the more skilled player and can have more of a consistent impact on the basketball floor. However, the impact ceiling is higher for Dellavedova. Imagine Dellavedova getting in Draymond Green’s head and making him react which causes an ejection for Green. If Livingston is having a bad game, Andre Iguodala or Leandro Barbosa can play backup ball handler minutes. If Delly gets in foul trouble, it just means LeBron James has to play more minutes as a ball handler if Kyrie is hobbled. Livingston is clearly the better player, but because of the way the rosters are set up, Dellavedova could have more of an impact.