Over at Grantland, Jonathan Abrams has another must-read piece on Shaun Livingston. A lifetime ago only feels like yesterday:
Is this the beginning or the end?
It’s easy to see now, with the Clippers standing tall as one of the league’s best teams. They showcase superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and a deep roster. But think back a few years earlier, to a time when another Clippers roster teased the NBA with fleeting respectability.
Shaun Livingston, 20 years old and just two years removed from high school in Illinois, was all knees, elbows, and potential. That potential — vision, athleticism, tenacity — was never more evident than in the 2006 playoffs. The no. 6-seeded Clippers had won their first playoff series in 30 years, cruising past the Carmelo Anthony–led no. 3-seeded Denver Nuggets. Tied 2-2 in a series against the offensive juggernaut Phoenix Suns, the Clippers held the momentum, but not the home-court advantage. Elton Brand played like an MVP and Sam Cassell like the savvy veteran point guard he was. Livingston, his apprentice, was the 6-foot-7 playmaker destined to revolutionize the point guard position. He resembled Magic Johnson, the way he peeked over smaller guards and bounced around in his defensive assignments, holding his own against Steve Nash, Leandro Barbosa, and Raja Bell. “A beckoning player in this league, for sure,” Nash recalled recently.