After leading the West in the regular season (with a 57-25 win-loss record) for yet another year, Golden State looked set to kick off another one of their characteristic playoff runs. However, apart from the sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers, every other series posed different challenges for the two-time defending champs.
After incorporating DeMarcus Cousins into the rotation midway through the regular season, they lost him to a quad injury right in the first playoff game of his career. This was followed by the shocking exit of Kevin Durant to a calf injury against Houston Rockets in the West semis and Thompson's hamstring in the Finals.
Also, let's not ignore Durant re-aggravating his injury due to an Achilles tear in his controversial return in Game 5.
It was one of the most grueling post-seasons for the mighty Warriors, but then again, this team has stood the test of time - or so everyone believed. Eventually, the burden of carrying GSW to a three-peat proved to be too much for Steph Curry's lone shoulders. And this was in part because of the lack of quality contribution from the support crew in such prolonged times of distress.
Let's take a look at the three most underwhelming individual performers from the 2018-19 Warriors' side.
#1 Shaun Livingston
Ever since GSW won the title in 2015, Shaun Livingston has been an integral part of this team coming off the bench. He has proven to be the difference-maker at numerous times with his disciplined offense and intensity on defense.
However, the spark that Livingston provides off the bench seems to be visibly diminished lately. He appeared in 64 regular season games this season, and averaged a career-low 4.0 points per game (min. 20 games played), having played over 15 minutes per contest.
Coach Kerr called upon him for help at several occasions citing Warriors' depleted core during the post-season, but the 33-year-old couldn't respond in a reliable manner. He scored a career playoff low 4.0 ppg ad 1.4 rpg in the 22 games he played (two of which he started in).
"It's just all the signs on the wall," Livingston told The Athletic. "And just more so from a physical standpoint. If I'm healthy and having fun, then I want to play. But physically, if I'm not … Like, I put so much work in my body just to get back to playing basketball, let alone get to this point where I'm at. So now that it's getting harder. Like this year, I've struggled with injuries more than any other year I've been on the Warriors."
After averaging 5.7 points and 2.6 assists in 18.0 minutes over his first four seasons with the champs, Livingston's numbers saw a clear dip this past season.