Brooklyn Nets: Caris LeVert is one to watch in 2018-2019
Under General Manager Sean Marks and head coach Kenny Atkinson, the Brooklyn Nets have slowly but surely dragged themselves out of the bit of misery. They’ve acquired a collection of players through the draft and free agency. One of the players acquired through the draft is Caris LeVert. Although the season is still early, LeVert is one player to keep an eye on.
Caris LeVert was drafted by the Pacers with the 20th pick in the 2016 draft. His draft rights were traded to Brooklyn for Thaddeus Young and a future second-round draft pick. LeVert, out of Michigan, could have been a top 10 pick if it wasn’t for his injury in college. He has had 3 surgeries on his left foot. A few of which have been for fractures.
During his rookie season, Caris only played in 57 games averaging just over 8 ppg. Last season LeVert seemed to be more adapted to the speed and physicality of the league. His stats were up across the board in a year which saw growth from other players on the team. LeVert also had the benefit of playing on a non-contending team. Since the Nets were in complete rebuild mode there was no direct pressure for him to succeed immediately.
Now, in his third year, LeVert may be ready to have his breakout season. In the team’s first 7 games LeVert is the team’s leading scorer. He is averaging 18.9 ppg, 4.4rbg, and 4.6 apg. Last season he averaged only about 12.1 ppg He is playing with a more aggressive edge but working within the offense. In the season opener against the Detroit Pistons, Caris scored 27 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. The next game against the New York Knicks, LeVert dropped 28 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. The 28 points was a new career high for him. LeVert also scored the game-winning basket with 1 second left to give the Nets a 107-105 win.
In the team’s 7 games, Caris has scored 19 or more points in 5 of them. The starting lineup with D’Angelo Russell and Caris LeVert in the backcourt has boded well for the Nets. Although the record doesn’t particularly show it, the team has been competitive in just about every game on the young. LeVert’s game seems to be benefiting from having two guys on the court that can stretch the floor with their shooting ability. This spacing allows LeVert more room to isolate or drive and kick. His finishing ability at the rim is also something that has made a noticeable improvement.
Last season Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo had a tremendous season which won him the Most Improved Player award. He had an increase in stats across the board which included an increase in scoring per game by 8 points. LeVert is already averaging 6 ppg more than last season. His assists, rebounding and free throw percentage are all up as well. The Nets are a young up and coming group that is in desperate need of a star. The time could be now for LeVert to step up and become that homegrown star the organization needs. Or a big enough piece that could attract potential big name free agents to come to Brooklyn.
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