This is the slow time in the NBA off-season, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start looking ahead to the 2010-11 season and which players might surprise us. The Slept-on Files will feature some of the players you might have overlooked or written off — and give you reasons why you shouldn’t.
Shaun Livingston’s File: Career numbers: 5 seasons, 193 games, 25.5 MPG, 7.2 PPG, 2,9 RPG, 4,4 APG; 2009-2010 numbers: 26 games, 9.2 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 4.4 APG, 53.5% FG, 87.5% FT
Why he’s being slept on: With talented young point guards popping up over the league, all eyes will be on this youth movement next season. There is one guy that shouldn’t be forgotten, however, even though he’s had a few years he would love nothing more than to forget. That point guard you might be forgetting is under contract with the Bobcats. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, not the biggest market or flashiest team, but the thing is, this contract, it’s a huge deal. It’s a dream in and of itself, a dream that our slept-on player thought was snatched away from him when the injury grim reaper appeared on the scene in February 2007.
A 6-foot-7 point guard who has been hyped from the preps to pros he came onto the scene with the height, court vision and pass-first mentality that many thought would make him a success. He also had the humility and hard-working attitude necessary to ensure a skilled player makes the jump to a star player.
And then, an innocent drive to the basket looked like it had changed everything. With a YouTube video that will make your stomach weak, and a crumble to the floor that tore every ligament possible, three years later Livingston has made it back. After finishing the season strong with the Wizards, stepping in and providing stability in their injury-riddled season, Livingston proved he could be an NBA player.
Why he shouldn’t be slept-on: Through 26 games with the Wizards he averaged 9.2 points and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 54 percent from the floor and 88 percent from the line. He was efficient and he was a consummate professional. He made valuable use of his time with the Wizards, eagerly learning from assistant coach Sam Cassell, adding a mid-range game and built up his confidence. There was the dunk that showed he could still get up and then a 25-point, six-rebound, seven-assist night that proved he could still stuff a stats sheet when given the minutes. Had the Wizards not won the draft lottery assuring them soon-to-be rookie phenom, John Wall, they likely would have brought Livingston back.
Throughout every setback he has encountered in his short career, Livingston has taken it with stride, handled it with grace and dealt with it rationally by saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” After signing a two-year, $7 million contract with the ‘Cats, perhaps, indeed it does. Livingston’s dream has been revived and here he is, still an underdog, but one who definitely knows how to fight.