Caris LeVert can be the Robin to Kyrie Irving’s Batman with Kevin Durant out
With Kevin Durant sidelined for likely most of the upcoming season, there will be a significant void that the Brooklyn Nets will need to fill. They are going to need a player to emerge as a secondary star alongside Kyrie Irving and Caris LeVert appears ready for that role.
LeVert expressed in a recent interview with Michael Lee of The Athletic, that he believes that he can be ‘that guy.’
“I’ve always felt like I was that guy,” LeVert said. “I’m at the point where now I feel I can control how good I can be. I’m going to push myself every single day and see where that ceiling is. I don’t know where it is. I don’t like to put limits on myself.”
While the numbers that LeVert produced last season may appear underwhelming when looking at the surface level, he showed significant flashes of potential before suffering a leg injury. For reference, he was averaging 18.4 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 47.5 percent from the field before the injury.
The main areas where LeVert showed his greatest potential for the Nets were in the pick-and-roll and isolation, which accounted for 68.7 percent of his offensive possessions. Last season, he generated an impressive 1.023 points per possession (85th percentile) from overall pick-and-roll derived offense and 0.993 points per possession (75th percentile) on overall isolation derived offense.
The ability that LeVert has shown as a scorer has already caught the attention of his new teammate, Garrett Temple. In a recent interview with Tom Dowd of BrooklynNets.com, Temple highlighted how LeVert plays with the ball in his hands.
“He can really score the ball. Offensively, he’s very gifted,” Temple said. “He plays like he’s 230 pounds when he’s really like 200. With his ability to create off the dribble, he’s going to be a really good player in this league for a long time.”
Having a sensational pick-and-roll ball handler and isolation threat like Irving paired with another effective option like LeVert should serve as the foundation of the Nets’ scoring attack. It only helps that they have an effective playmaker off the bench in Spencer Dinwiddie in addition to having complementary off-ball players throughout their rotation.
The strong impact that Irving can make as a catch-and-shoot option is something to consider as well. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson recently told NetsDaily that Irving has made it clear that he can use his abilities as an off-ball threat when LeVert is driving the lane.
“Kyrie is a great catch-and-shoot shooter,” Atkinson said. “Kyrie always tells me, ‘I’m really good off the ball, too.’ When Caris is driving, you know you have another shooter out there, so, I think it works well…I always say that I’d love multiple ball handlers, multiple downhill guys. At the end of the day, that’s what sucks the defense in.”
The Nets organization seems to be prepared to embrace LeVert’s pursuit of stardom. Given that there should be no shortage of opportunities, it will be up to him to make the most of it.