Livingston

Livingston slideshow

From left, Golden State Warriors' Shaun Livingston, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant wait for their NBA championship rings during a ring ceremony prior to the basketball game against the Houston Rockets Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

NBA Opening Night: Seven Storylines to Watch

The wait is over! No more listening to NBA writers drone on about national parks on their podcasts. No more waiting for Charles Barkley to forsake teams who rely on three-pointers. And no more wondering if Mike D’Antoni is going to bring back the Pringles mustache. (Unfortunately, he's not.) The 2017–18 NBA season is finally here, and opening night is filled with exciting storylines sure to result in at least one passive-aggressive Instagram post.

We know the NBA season is starting a little earlier this year, and it’s hardly feeling like fall around much of the country. So if you’re not fully ready for the start of the season—or you just a little reminder of what’s going on—here’s what to watch for on opening night. (Reminder: Cavs-Celtics tips at 8 p.m. ET followed by Warriors-Rockets at 10:30 p.m.)

1. The Kyrie Reaction

What kind of reception will Kyrie Irving get in Cleveland? Irving hit the biggest shot in Cavaliers history with his series-clinching three-pointer in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals. He destroyed much of that goodwill this summer when he a) requested a trade and then b) decided to not-so-subtly trash both the Cavs and the city of Cleveland after being sent to Boston. Cleveland, of course, has a bit of a sordid history with homecomings, like when some fans threw batteries at LeBron James in his first game at Cleveland as a member of the Heat in 2010. Irving won’t draw the anywhere near the same level of vitriol, and you have to imagine the Cavs will at least give him the obligatory tribute video. (I like when they set these videos to a OneRepublic song but maybe that’s just me.) Watching how the fans as well as Irving’s former teammates react should provide the first juicy moment of the season, non-pregame-handshake division. I’m looking forward to everyone’s reactions being dissected like the Zapruder film on Twitter.

2. Cleveland’s Crunch-Time Lineup

Instead of trying to fix their defensive issues from last season, the Cavs are leaning in to their best offensive tendencies to begin the year. Kevin Love will start at center, and Jae Crowder at forward, which means Cleveland will shoot threes early and often. Sure, Love won’t exactly protect the rim on defense, but Cleveland is betting that most nights, an offense led by LeBron James will be able to score more points than your favorite team. The issue? Starting guards Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade don’t exactly fit the 3-and-D criteria, so they may derail the Cavs’ bombs-away attack. If Boston and Cleveland are playing each other close in the fourth quarter, who the Cavs put on the court could reveal how much faith Ty Lue actually has in some of his new additions.

3. Boston’s Chemistry

If anyone can overcome an overhaul of more than two-thirds of his roster, it’s boy genius Brad Stevens. The Celtics are going to look even more new than Cleveland this season. How will Irving get along with Gordon Hayward? Who gets the ball in clutch situations? How will Jayson and Jalen hold up against elite competition? While the Cavs are moreso mixing in role players to their current system, Stevens and the Celtics will be building a bit from scratch this season. Opening night will (hopefully) be the first real test of how the new parts respond to adversity.

4. Will the Warriors Care?

Golden State has a habit of putzing around for two quarters, letting Zaza Pachulia play too much, and then turning on the jets in the third before burying opponents with ease. Will they get up for opening night? The Dubs will be hosting the revamped Rockets, who won a game at Oracle last season. Will the addition of Chris Paul give Golden State any kind of trouble? The Warriors love disrespecting opponents, and a particularly savage way to do that would be to treat opening night like a January game against the Pacers—especially when they know Paul and James Harden will be giving 110%. In an ideal scenario, the Warriors will be locked in from the opening tip but the Rockets still manage to keep things close for 48 minutes. If Golden State runs a bunch of Pachulia and Shaun Livingston post-ups for two quarters and win by 20 any way, then Houston’s high-risk offseason could already start to feel like an unworthy gamble.

5. How Fresh are Harden and Paul?

Perhaps the most important part of the Harden-Paul pairing—besides bringing together two of the best seven players in the NBA—is what it could do for each of them at the end of games. Both Paul and Harden’s most recent playoff defeats were marked by ineffectiveness down the stretch, largely because each player was carrying a ridiculous burden for their team. Now, Harden and Paul can hand the keys of the offense off to each other instead of having to create every single second of every possession. Again, this will be dependent on a close game, but keep an eye on how Harden and Paul look in the last few minutes of the fourth. If both have extra energy, both could be in a position to improve their efficiency in the clutch.

6. Stephen Curry

Remember Curry, the NBA’s first unanimous MVP? Curry’s been overshadowed by Kevin Durant since the Finals, from KD winning Finals MVP, to Steve Kerr forgetting to thank Curry at the parade, to KD getting wall-to-wall coverage (rightfully so) for his Twitter antics. Though Durant is thought of as the NBA’s biggest challenger to LeBron, Curry is still the most important player on the Warriors. I can’t state this enough: Curry’s shooting ability is the single most devastating skill in the NBA, and it’s a skill so great that it’s changed the landscape of the NBA. Opening night could be the start of Curry’s third MVP campaign, and it’s time to start having serious discussions about Curry’s legacy and where he’ll ultimately fall in the league’s pantheon of greats.

7. Dunks

Seriously. Dunks are awesome! I hope we see lots of them tonight.

NBA Opening Night: Seven Storylines to Watch

The wait is over! No more listening to NBA writers drone on about national parks on their podcasts. No more waiting for Charles Barkley to forsake teams who rely on three-pointers. And no more wondering if Mike D’Antoni is going to bring back the Pringles mustache. (Unfortunately, he's not.) The 2017–18 NBA season is finally here, and opening night is filled with exciting storylines sure to result in at least one passive-aggressive Instagram post.

We know the NBA season is starting a little earlier this year, and it’s hardly feeling like fall around much of the country. So if you’re not fully ready for the start of the season—or you just a little reminder of what’s going on—here’s what to watch for on opening night. (Reminder: Cavs-Celtics tips at 8 p.m. ET followed by Warriors-Rockets at 10:30 p.m.)

1. The Kyrie Reaction

What kind of reception will Kyrie Irving get in Cleveland? Irving hit the biggest shot in Cavaliers history with his series-clinching three-pointer in Game 7 of the 2016 Finals. He destroyed much of that goodwill this summer when he a) requested a trade and then b) decided to not-so-subtly trash both the Cavs and the city of Cleveland after being sent to Boston. Cleveland, of course, has a bit of a sordid history with homecomings, like when some fans threw batteries at LeBron James in his first game at Cleveland as a member of the Heat in 2010. Irving won’t draw the anywhere near the same level of vitriol, and you have to imagine the Cavs will at least give him the obligatory tribute video. (I like when they set these videos to a OneRepublic song but maybe that’s just me.) Watching how the fans as well as Irving’s former teammates react should provide the first juicy moment of the season, non-pregame-handshake division. I’m looking forward to everyone’s reactions being dissected like the Zapruder film on Twitter.

2. Cleveland’s Crunch-Time Lineup

Instead of trying to fix their defensive issues from last season, the Cavs are leaning in to their best offensive tendencies to begin the year. Kevin Love will start at center, and Jae Crowder at forward, which means Cleveland will shoot threes early and often. Sure, Love won’t exactly protect the rim on defense, but Cleveland is betting that most nights, an offense led by LeBron James will be able to score more points than your favorite team. The issue? Starting guards Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade don’t exactly fit the 3-and-D criteria, so they may derail the Cavs’ bombs-away attack. If Boston and Cleveland are playing each other close in the fourth quarter, who the Cavs put on the court could reveal how much faith Ty Lue actually has in some of his new additions.

3. Boston’s Chemistry

If anyone can overcome an overhaul of more than two-thirds of his roster, it’s boy genius Brad Stevens. The Celtics are going to look even more new than Cleveland this season. How will Irving get along with Gordon Hayward? Who gets the ball in clutch situations? How will Jayson and Jalen hold up against elite competition? While the Cavs are moreso mixing in role players to their current system, Stevens and the Celtics will be building a bit from scratch this season. Opening night will (hopefully) be the first real test of how the new parts respond to adversity.

4. Will the Warriors Care?

Golden State has a habit of putzing around for two quarters, letting Zaza Pachulia play too much, and then turning on the jets in the third before burying opponents with ease. Will they get up for opening night? The Dubs will be hosting the revamped Rockets, who won a game at Oracle last season. Will the addition of Chris Paul give Golden State any kind of trouble? The Warriors love disrespecting opponents, and a particularly savage way to do that would be to treat opening night like a January game against the Pacers—especially when they know Paul and James Harden will be giving 110%. In an ideal scenario, the Warriors will be locked in from the opening tip but the Rockets still manage to keep things close for 48 minutes. If Golden State runs a bunch of Pachulia and Shaun Livingston post-ups for two quarters and win by 20 any way, then Houston’s high-risk offseason could already start to feel like an unworthy gamble.

5. How Fresh are Harden and Paul?

Perhaps the most important part of the Harden-Paul pairing—besides bringing together two of the best seven players in the NBA—is what it could do for each of them at the end of games. Both Paul and Harden’s most recent playoff defeats were marked by ineffectiveness down the stretch, largely because each player was carrying a ridiculous burden for their team. Now, Harden and Paul can hand the keys of the offense off to each other instead of having to create every single second of every possession. Again, this will be dependent on a close game, but keep an eye on how Harden and Paul look in the last few minutes of the fourth. If both have extra energy, both could be in a position to improve their efficiency in the clutch.

6. Stephen Curry

Remember Curry, the NBA’s first unanimous MVP? Curry’s been overshadowed by Kevin Durant since the Finals, from KD winning Finals MVP, to Steve Kerr forgetting to thank Curry at the parade, to KD getting wall-to-wall coverage (rightfully so) for his Twitter antics. Though Durant is thought of as the NBA’s biggest challenger to LeBron, Curry is still the most important player on the Warriors. I can’t state this enough: Curry’s shooting ability is the single most devastating skill in the NBA, and it’s a skill so great that it’s changed the landscape of the NBA. Opening night could be the start of Curry’s third MVP campaign, and it’s time to start having serious discussions about Curry’s legacy and where he’ll ultimately fall in the league’s pantheon of greats.

7. Dunks

Seriously. Dunks are awesome! I hope we see lots of them tonight.

Shaun Livingston

NBA Fearless Forecast Weekly Rank: 26

Shaun Livingston

NBA Fearless Forecast Weekly Rank: 26

Shaun Livingston

NBA Fearless Forecast Weekly Rank: 26

Shaun Livingston

NBA Fearless Forecast Weekly Rank: 26

FILE - In this April 4, 2017, file photo, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins (22) lays up a shot past Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oakland, Calif. The Timberwolves have signed Wiggins to a new contract extension. The Timberwolves announced on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, that the two sides had reached agreement on a multiyear contract. Terms were not disclosed, but owner Glen Taylor said in August that he had offered Wiggins a five-year max contract worth $148 million. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

Klay Thompson Is Already Thinking About Taking Less to Stay With Warriors

Klay Thompson is two years away from becoming a free agent, but he is already thinking about what type of deal he would take when the time comes.

While the Warriors were in China, Thompson talked to reporters about the possibility of staying in Golden State, but at a discounted price.

“We’re talking like 24 months away,” Thompson said according to Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News. “But it’s something that definitely crossed my mind, especially when you see guys like Kevin (Durant) doing it.”

This offseason, Durant took less than the max deal, saving the Warriors almost $10 million, to make sure they could re-sign Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala.

The Warriors Have Made the Pacific a One-Team Race

Thompson explained that similar to Durant, his off-court endorsements and his chances at winning future championships could effect how he approaches free agency and deciding on what type of contract he would want from Golden State.

“100 percent, it’d be different if I was making scraps off the court,” Thompson said. “But I’ve been very blessed to be a part of winning team. When you’re part of a winning team, everybody gets to eat. So that’s why I’m indebted to the guys around me. Without them, I would not have the deals that I have.”

Thompson added that he doesn't want to just be seen as a basketball player when he retires, but "leave a legacy" by winning and leaving an impact on the community.

The three-time All-Star is already a two-time champion and is heading into his seventh season.

FILE - In this Friday, June 9, 2017, file photo, Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) hugs teammate Stephen Curry (30) during the first half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, in Cleveland. The 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors re-signed free agents Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia and David West to contracts, the team announced Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2016, file photo, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry celebrates after hitting a 3-point basket and drawing a foul from the Denver Nuggets during the second half of an NBA basketball game, in Denver. The 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors signed Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia and David West to contracts, the team announced Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2016, file photo, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry celebrates after hitting a 3-point basket and drawing a foul from the Denver Nuggets during the second half of an NBA basketball game, in Denver. The 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors signed Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia and David West to contracts, the team announced Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

FILE - In this June 12, 2017, file photo, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant reacts after scoring against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif. The 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors signed Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia and David West to contracts, the team announced Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

FILE - In this June 12, 2017, file photo, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant reacts after scoring against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif. The 2017 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors signed Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia and David West to contracts, the team announced Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

FILE - In this May 6, 2017, file photo, Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) shoots as Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston (34) defends in the second half during Game 3 of the NBA basketball second-round playoff series in Salt Lake City. Hayward has chosen to sign with the Boston Celtics and reunite with coach Brad Stevens, making the announcement Tuesday evening, July 4, on The Players' Tribune site. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Report: Warriors keeping Shaun Livingston on three-year, $24 million contract

Andre Iguodala next?

Report: Warriors keeping Shaun Livingston on three-year, $24 million contract

Andre Iguodala next?

Report: Warriors keeping Shaun Livingston on three-year, $24 million contract

Andre Iguodala next?

Shaun Livingston, Warriors agree to a 3-year, $24 million deal, per report

Report: Kevin Durant will wait until late July, let Warriors sign other players, before inking his deal

This will help team re-sign Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

Report: Kevin Durant to sign 1+1 contract for less than max with Warriors

This will allow Golden State to spend as much as it wants to re-sign Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston

Report: Kevin Durant to sign 1+1 contract for less than max with Warriors

This will allow Golden State to spend as much as it wants to re-sign Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston

Report: Kevin Durant to sign 1+1 contract for less than max with Warriors

This will allow Golden State to spend as much as it wants to re-sign Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry, left, and Shaun Livingston speak with reporters during a news conference Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. The Warriors won the NBA championship over the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier in the week.. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots against Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston (34) during the second half of Game 1 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 1, 2017. (Kyle Terada/Pool Photo via AP)

Report: Kevin Durant willing to accept less than max contract next year

Warriors could keep Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston

Like Shaun Livingston, JaVale McGee perfect fit on Warriors

JaVale McGee practices 3-pointers from all around the arch, just in case.

Like Shaun Livingston, JaVale McGee perfect fit on Warriors

JaVale McGee practices 3-pointers from all around the arch, just in case.

Like Shaun Livingston, JaVale McGee perfect fit on Warriors

JaVale McGee practices 3-pointers from all around the arch, just in case.

San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) grabs a rebound in front of Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) as Shaun Livingston (34) and center Pau Gasol, right, of Spain watch during the first half in Game 4 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Monday, May 22, 2017, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston (34) goes up for a shot as San Antonio Spurs' Dejounte Murray (5) defends during the first half in Game 4 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Monday, May 22, 2017, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (5) leaps to the basket for a shot as Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green (23) and Shaun Livingston (34) defend during the first half in Game 4 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Monday, May 22, 2017, in San Antonio. The Spurs' Pau Gasol (16) watches on the play. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Warriors make 7 wild passes in 8 seconds before Shaun Livingston restores order

Warriors make 7 wild passes in 8 seconds before Shaun Livingston restores order

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) comes to the assistance of teammate Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) after he was fouled during the second half in Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals on Saturday, May 20, 2017, in San Antonio. On the left watching is Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston (34). (AP Photo/Ronald Cortes)

Video Breakdown: Spurs sell out on Kevin Durant, Warriors run decoy during Game 1 comeback

San Antonio had to sell out to stop Kevin Durant at the 3-point line, but in doing so let Shaun Livingston walk to the hoop.

NBA: Playoffs-San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors

May 14, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) high fives guard Shaun Livingston (34), forward Draymond Green (23) and forward Kevin Durant (35) after a basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the fourth quarter in game one of the Western conference finals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Playoffs-San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors

May 14, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) high fives guard Shaun Livingston (34), forward Draymond Green (23) and forward Kevin Durant (35) after a basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the fourth quarter in game one of the Western conference finals of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 04: Dante Exum #11 of the Utah Jazz drives against Shaun Livingston #34 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Two of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals at ORACLE Arena on May 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Utah Jazz v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 04: Dante Exum #11 of the Utah Jazz drives against Shaun Livingston #34 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Two of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals at ORACLE Arena on May 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Utah Jazz v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 04: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz drives against Shaun Livingston #34 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Two of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals at ORACLE Arena on May 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Utah Jazz v Golden State Warriors - Game Two

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 04: Gordon Hayward #20 of the Utah Jazz drives against Shaun Livingston #34 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Two of the NBA Western Conference Semi-Finals at ORACLE Arena on May 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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