Caris LeVert was selected by the Brooklyn Nets with the 20th overall pick in this year’s draft. The internet freaked out when the Pacers “stole” Thad Young for the 20th pick. At the time it was a good trade for the Pacers, but now could be an even better trade for the Nets. Yes, Young is a good player, but he’s a role player who will never be an all-star. Yes, Caris LeVert is coming off a significant injury. LeVert’s injury he suffered last year with Michigan was a lower left leg injury that turned into a fracture. That could be an explanation for why he fell in the draft. However, there’s no reason why he cannot recover and be 100%. He didn’t tear an ACL, MCL, or an Achilles.
Caris “The Green Machine” could be money in the bank in the second half of the season. Let’s be realistic, the Nets probably aren’t making the playoffs. That’s okay, they shouldn’t be expected to. So if you are team out of the playoff race, you should be playing your young guys to see what you have and to build chemistry. Caris’s college tape is fantastic. He looks like he has the athleticism of Tracy McGrady with the shooting ability of Kris Middleton. In no way am I saying he will be either player, but he certainly has all-star upside which cannot be said for many of the players selected in front of him.
Last year in 15 games for Michigan, LeVert averaged 16.5ppg, 5.3apg, 4.9apg, FG 50.6%, FT 79.4%, 3P 44.6%, 1spg, 1.7tpg. Before you cry small size, hear me out. Good shooting has become very valuable in the NBA. Hopefully, he will be able to shoot high 30s from the NBA three-point line, but what if I told you he was 6-7 and could play three positions? Caris is good enough of a playmaker to play point guard and he has the size to play shooting guard and small forward. Yes, defense has been a bit of an issue for him. That might be because he’s only 200lbs. Even if his future is DeMar DeRozan on defense, he can still be a very good player. When you can shoot, create for others, and rebound there is a place for you in the NBA especially when you have length.
Who on the Nets can LeVert play next to?
Caris pairs nice with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Caris brings the shooting and Rondae can provide the lockdown defense. What more could you ask for? How about shooting and shooting? That comes when you order the entrée of Bojan Bogdanovic with the side of Caris LeVert. Still hungry? How about the dessert of Jeremy Lin’s penetration with all that shooting?
Bold NBA Projections for Caris LeVert
Rookie Year: 7.3ppg, 3rpg, 2.7apg, 1.0 3pm, FG 39%, FT 76%, 0.8spg, 1.5tpg
Sophomore Year: 12ppg, 4.5rpg, 4apg, 1.5 3pm, FG 42%, FT 78%, 1spg, 2tpg
Junior Year: 14.5ppg, 4.75rpg, 5apg, 1.5 3pm, FG 44%, FT 79%, 1spg, 2tpg
Senior Year: 16ppg, 5rpg, 5apg, 1.75 3pm, FG 46%, FT 80%, 1spg, 2.25tpg
Statistically, I see Caris as a light version of Brandon Roy. If you recall before Roy’s injury woes he was averaging 20+ppg and able to play multiple positions at 6-6 215 lbs. I think LeVert might actually be more athletic than Roy, but not quite as talented. Brandon Roy was morphing into a franchise player whereas I don’t think Caris LeVert will ever be that in the NBA. Brandon Roy was a guy who could take over games late and put the time on his back. It’s hard to imagine Caris ever being that, but that’s okay. Right now, the Nets have Brook Lopez as their franchise player as he’s a pretty good one. Fun fact, Lopez was the only big man in the NBA to average 20+ppg while shooting FT 78+%.
At pick 20, if you are getting a role player in the NBA draft you probably doing well. If you get a guy who can become a second or third option for your team, you are making a case to be executive of the year. Caris LeVert should work his way into being the fourth option on this Nets team this season, but has second option upside in years to come. Don’t sleep on LeVert because he was the 20th pick and coming off injury. Before his injury, many draft experts had him slated for the lottery. I think he’s got a good chance to outperform over half of the lottery selections over the course of his career.
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