Brooklyn Nets Player Preview: Caris LeVert John Pearson October 23, 2019 Brooklyn Nets, Brooklyn Nets Player Profiles The 2019/20 NBA season is about to open up, and one of the most popular candidates to take the next big step in their game is Nets guard/forward Caris LeVert. This is LeVert’s year to make a name with himself with the lights shining on him. He can now begin to create the question if the Nets have a big three in Brooklyn. LeVert looked poised for a breakout season last year before a devastating looking foot injury in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 12th. The right foot injury sideline LeVert and halted a scorching start. Before the injury, LeVert averaged 18.4 points, 3.7 assists, and 4.3 rebounds. When LeVert came back, he was vital in the Nets short playoff stint. Although the Nets did not make it out of the first round, the Columbus, Ohio native elevated his game, averaging 21 points, 3 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game. The Nets began to rely heavily on LeVert to close out games and takeover last in the season, and he succeeded. Now, with the addition of Kyrie Irving, Caris will not be the first option and goes back to playing the role he played last season with D’Angelo Russell in the regular season. Caris LeVert is more ball-dominant than most forward, but with Irving at the point, he may get the ball more often. D’Angelo Russell’s usage percentage last year was 31.1%, while Irving was 28.6%. The new transaction is better on paper, but in terms of what changes for LeVert, he doesn’t see much: “I think it will honestly be really similar, I feel like we are a team that uses the mismatches in the backcourt and obviously Kyrie is going to pose a lot of those mismatches for the other team,” LeVert told YES Network. Caris LeVert has displayed a ton of playmaking ability here in the preseason, averaging the second-most assists and third-most points on the team. Combined with LeVert’s versatility of being able to defend guards and smaller forwards, his speed allows him to get steals on the defensive end. LeVert led the team in steals this preseason. His development into becoming a two-way star is a question that head coach Kenny Atkinson has for the Michigan alumni, “Small sample size, but I think he has the ability. I think he has the talent. There are some things he’s got to work on to get there. Am I going to be a two-way player? Am I going to defend, too?” Brooklyn’s culture has become a huge talking point and a reason why Irving and Kevin Durant decided to sign. Caris LeVert has been a perfect example of what Brooklyn has created. Betting on players that weren’t guaranteed, developing them into something, and drafting players that have great attitudes. LeVert was rewarded for all of his hard work, playmaking, and leadership with a three-year extension this offseason. General Manager Sean Marks said to Nets.com, “The growth he has displayed in his first three seasons is a testament to his tireless work ethic, along with an unrelenting will to maximize his talents and achieve team success. Our entire organization is excited to continue to have Caris LeVert as one of the leaders of our program moving forward.” Levert’s big question is if he can take that next step, where he becomes a dominant player. He has to improve his field goal shooting, become an even better defender, and continue to build to become an overall complete player. He has all the potential to be an all-star, and this may be the year we see it, and there’s a good chance he’s in contention for all-star voting if he can stay healthy. His game has some similarities to a new Net, and he has his ear all season long. Caris LeVert earned the nickname “Baby Durant” at the University of Michigan, and although Kevin Durant will not likely take the floor with LeVert this season, he will be able to learn from Durant all season. Durant’s mentorship and advice could be precisely what LeVert needs to hear and unlock to go to the next level. If all goes well, there will likely be talks of the next big three of the NBA, and it will be in Brooklyn.