No one seriously will be saying that about injured star point guard Deron Williams anytime soon. But while Williams continues to recover from a sprained right ankle suffered last month Shaun Livingston has looked terrific filling in for him through the first three preseason games.
Livingston was the best player on the floor for the Nets in Monday night’s 127-97 victory over the 76ers in front of a very sparse crowd at Wells Fargo Center finishing with 17 points 9 rebounds and 8 assists on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting performance from the field and 3-for-3 from the foul line.
“I think he’s gotten better each time he’s taken the floor” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “You can see he’s very comfortable.
“He’s a professional. He knows what it takes to run a team and he displayed that tonight.”
The 6-foot-7 point guard also threw down two more dunks giving him three officially through three games to go along with one after a whistle in Saturday’s loss to Detroit and one in practice Sunday — all signs he’s continuing to regain some of the athleticism he lost after a devastating knee injury suffered in 2007.
“It was a good game” Livingston said. “I’m a player that kind of plays by feel so the more comfortable I feel the more I get acclimated.
“But there’s still a long way to go. I don’t think we want to get too high or too low. It’s just about getting better and progression. We’re here for the long haul.”
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Kidd said he would experiment with playing Mirza Teletovic “a little differently” before Monday night’s game. He then followed through on that by playing Teletovic extended minutes in the first half at small forward where the Nets were missing Paul Pierce (scheduled rest day) and Andrei Kirilenko (back spasms).
Teletovic finished with 21 points on 7-for-13 shooting — including 5-for-9 from 3-point range — to go with 7 rebounds and 5 assists in just under 29 minutes.
“They told me this morning I was going to play the three so it’s a bit of an adjustment to go from the four to small forward in the system and stuff” Teletovic said afterward. “I had it in my head but just went with it and it went pretty well.”