In a league filled with stars, some can fly under the radar. The Brooklyn Nets are hoping that is the case with Caris LeVert. The fourth-year pro out of Michigan continues to impress in the preseason, leading the Nets with 22 points in a 91-77 win over the Lakers in game two of their China tour.
LeVert shot 8-for-11 overall and 3-for-5 from 3-point range adding five assists, four rebounds and three steals. With the Nets now retooling for 2019-20 and Kevin Durant sidelined with an achilles injury, LeVert will be thrust into a starring role alongside Kyrie Irving.
LeVert had a rough start to 2018-19, suffering a gruesome injury in just the 14th game of the season. LeVert missed about half the year, returning in February and averaging 13.7 points in 40 games played. The former Wolverine was able to breakout in the postseason, cracking the 20-point barrier in three of the team’s five playoff games against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson hopes LeVert’s strong performance in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, coupled with his impressive preseason numbers will lead to a breakout campaign from the scoring guard alongside newly acquired Kyrie Irving.
“Kyrie is a great catch-and-shoot shooter,” Kenny Atkinson told NetsDaily earlier this preseason. “When Caris is driving, you know you have another shooter out there, so, I think it works well.”
With Kevin Durant on the shelf until the 2020-21 season, the Nets need a scoring presence to compliment Kyrie. LeVert could very-well provide the 1-2 punch Brooklyn fans are hoping for. If LeVert and Kyrie can stay healthy for the entire season, there might be something special brewing for an organization that has seemingly taken over the New York City basketball headlines from the Knicks.
LeVert’s Tenure in Brooklyn
Hard to believe, but Caris LeVert is one of the most tenured players on the Nets roster. The 2019-20 season will be his fourth in Brooklyn, who selected him with the 20th overall pick in the 2016 draft . Since then, LeVert has averaged 11.1 points per game in three seasons as a Net, shooting almost 33% from the downtown while averaging 3.4 assists per game.
Those are hardly breakout numbers, which is why LeVert has continued to fly under the radar in his fourth season with the team. But if the 2019-20 preseason is any indication, the pure scorer is starting to find his range.
Prior to making the jump to the NBA, LeVert played four seasons at the University of Michigan earning several all-conference accolades along the way. However, like his time so far in the NBA, several of LeVert’s seasons at the collegiate level were also cut short with injuries.
Injuries Continue to Plague LeVert
LeVert will never forget November 12, 2018. It was the end of the first half in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, LeVert went up for a rebound on a missed layup and came down awkwardly on his right ankle. The diagnosis was a broken ankle, costing LeVert about half of the season.
Besides the ankle injury in 2018-19, LeVert also had an injury scare this preseason, albeit a minor one. He was forced to leave the Nets’ preseason opener against the Lakers after getting poked in the eye.
READ NEXT: Masked Man Kyrie Irving Injured in Brooklyn Nets Debut