Future Watch: Caris LeVert Rookie Basketball Cards, Nets – The Brooklyn Nets head into the 2018-19 NBA season looking to find their way out the basement of the Eastern Conference. The 2017-18 season was a slight step in the right direction. The Nets did not finish in last place, and their 28 wins was a tick up from 20 and 21 wins in the previous two seasons. Still, it’s an uphill battle for Brooklyn as they work to regain NBA relevance. Without any superstars on the roster, the Nets will look to a strong group of role players to help their chances in 2018-19. Combo guard Caris LeVert, drafted in 2016, could be a solid contributor for the Nets this upcoming season.
LeVert played for the Michigan Wolverines for four seasons from 2012-2016. The 6’7” forward out of Pickerington, Ohio improved his game every year for Michigan, despite nagging injuries throughout his college career. In his senior season, he became the fourth player in Michigan’s history to record a triple-double when he scored 13 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Northen Kentucky. Unfortunately, he would miss most of his team’s games that season with a left leg injury. Still, scouts had him pegged as a late first/early second round pick for the 2016 NBA draft.
Heading into the draft, scouts saw LeVert as an intriguing prospect capable of playing small forward and both guard positions at the NBA level. While he was a formidable scorer at Michigan, he was also capable of making an impact as a passer and defender. His size is his greatest asset. He can shoot or pass over smaller defenders and see the floor with ease. Over the course of his college career, he put a lot of work into developing his long-range shot. He shot 40% from deep in his final three seasons with Michigan. The only big knock on LeVert was his injury history, however he was able to participate in pre-draft workouts which helped his stock significantly.
On draft night, LeVert was selected with the 20th overall pick by the Indiana Pacers. His rights were traded later in the summer to Brooklyn in exchange for Thaddeus Young. LeVert and Brooklyn’s doctors eased him into NBA action during the 2016-17 season. He played in 57 games, starting in 26 of them. He averaged 8.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists over 21.7 minutes per game.
LeVert took a solid step forward in his sophomore season, improving on his numbers across the board. He played in 71 games, starting 10. Despite the lack of starts, his minutes per game increased to 26.3. He finished the year with 12.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He also shot a respectable 34.7% from behind the arc on 3.5 attempts per night. His best game in 2017-18 came against the Clippers on March 4th. That night, he scored 27 points to go along with five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. He also shot 5-for-7 from three-point range.
There’s still a ways to go for Brooklyn to make their way back to the playoffs. However, the organization has shown a willingness to adapt the roster to the modern NBA game in the way of the Golden State Warriors. The Nets aren’t afraid to shoot from deep, and no single player averaged more than 30 minutes per game in 2017-18. A whole lot more needs to happen in Brooklyn, but they have made a step in the right direction. Keep an eye on LeVert in 2018-19. He’s the type of player who can help the Nets in a number of different ways and could easily be a fan favorite moving forward.
Follow him on Twitter: @CarisLeVert
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