Brooklyn Nets guard, Caris LeVert is playing well this season.
Around this time last season, LeVert was averaging 10 PPG.
The former Michigan Wolverine is averaging 20.5 PPG, 3.9 APG and 4.6 RPG.
LeVert has caught the eyes of the NBA’s elite, too. “Caris LeVert is tough,” said Golden State Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr.
“He’s a slasher, ball-handler. He can get into the paint. He’s big, so he can finish in the paint.”
The 20th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, LeVert was drafted by the Indiana Pacers and promptly shipped to the Brooklyn Nets in a draft day deal that sent Thaddeus Young to the Pacers.
Some basketball purists scratched their heads on that move.
“They expressed interest me,” LeVert told me shortly after being drafted by Brooklyn in 2016.
“I’m a midwest guy so I’m not that far away. I’m excited to get to know the city.”
Fast forward to 2018, earlier this fall, Brooklyn declined a Timberwolves inquiry to include LeVert in trade talks involving Jimmy Butler.
— Brandon Robinson (@ScoopB) October 25, 2018
That’s loyalty, that’s patience.
“We all had a sense he was going to be really good because his preseason was really good,” Brooklyn Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson told the New York Post’s Brian Lewis.
“His practice time this offseason was really good. He’s reached another level of understanding of the league, understanding of himself. He understands the pace of the game better.”
That trust by the coach has manifested itself with the confidence of the player.
“He has absolutely turned the corner in year three,” Nets play-by-play broadcaster, Ian Eagle told D & Davis Show’s Ken Davis and Demonze Spruiel via Chicago’s 670 The Score.
Eagle calls Nets broadcasts on the New York Yankees’ network, YES Network. He called a good one last month that saw LeVert nail a buzzer beater to give the Nets a three point lead heading into the half.
“There is just a confidence in him,” said Eagle.
“A conviction that he can do some things on the court that maybe he didn’t show he can do consistently in his first couple years in the NBA. He’s healthy, that’s a big part of it. And I think he is now empowered and emboldened by this coaching staff to go out there and do it. They’ve told him we need you, we need you to step forward, and we’ve already seen it in the first portion of the NBA season.”
Sounds about right. Though very early in the Nets season, there’s been talk of LeVert repping the Brooklyn borough in February at the 2019 NBA All Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina. The last Net to do was former Net, Joe Johnson who represented the team as a reserve during the 2014 NBA All Star Game in New Orleans, Louisiana.
As for LeVert, there’s still work to be done. “I think he still has room,” Eagle told the D&Davis show.
“This is not a finished product, he is still developing as a player and that would be the player that stands out right now, Michigan man, Caris LeVert taking that next step.”