Caris LeVert has stepped it up in the absence of Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets are thriving. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games.
The Brooklyn Nets have a record of 25-28 at the All-Star break, good for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. They were aided by a strong finish, as the Nets have won seven of their last 10 games. With Kyrie Irving missing six of those games, Caris LeVert has stepped up to the challenge and delivered.
LeVert has always had starter potential, but injuries have limited him throughout the past two seasons. The former first-round pick is blossoming this year, posting a career-high 15.3 points per game in his 28 appearances.
Over the past five games without Irving, the former Michigan star is averaging 24 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game on 48 percent shooting. However, his impact goes much deeper than his eye-popping stats. Here are two major reasons as to how he’s carrying the offense.
LeVert had mainly functioned as a slasher throughout his first few seasons in the NBA, using an unorthodox stop-and-start technique to maneuver his way to the basket. However, his impact was often limited due to an inconsistent jumper.
This year, LeVert is shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc while taking almost four attempts per game. This helps open up his offensive arsenal while simultaneously spacing the floor for his teammates.
He’s also expanded his shooting off the dribble, creating his own offense. This year, 39 percent of his made threes are unassisted. That number includes his “dagger-in-the-heart” three against the Indiana Pacers on February 10th.
His free throw shooting has also gone up, as LeVert is shooting 81% from the charity stripe over the past 10 games. For his career, the 25-year old is only a 71% shooter.
Fourth Quarter Heroics
Aside from the Pacers win, LeVert has been a menace in the final frame. In his last 10 contests, he is averaging just under seven points per game in the fourth quarter on 55 percent shooting while hitting on five of his seven threes attempted.
This includes a 15-point final quarter outburst against the Toronto Raptors, almost sealing an improbable comeback victory.
Head coach Kenny Atkinson is going to have a tough job splitting backcourt minutes between Irving, LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie, when Kyrie comes back from injury. While Irving will likely take over the late-game scoring duties once he returns to action, it’s still good to know that LeVert can take and make shots when the team needs him most.
What do you think LeVert’s role with the Brooklyn Nets should be when Irving comes back? Let us know in the comments section below or on social media.