Caris LeVert: 2017-18 Season Review

Offseason acquisitions D’Angelo Russell and Jarrett Allen supplanted sophomore wing Caris LeVert’s top prospect status in many Nets observers’ minds. However, the expectations remained optimistic across the board for LeVert heading into 2017-18 after enticing flashes in 2016-17.

The year became an inconsistent one for Caris as his scoring effectiveness pinballed up and down from month to month. However, the playmaking potential he came into 2017-18 with did break new ground as he emerged as a capable initiator of the offense for stints at a time.

Caris LeVert’s True Shooting percentage fluctuated by at least 70 percentage every month to show a snapshot of his maddening scoring inconsistency. The former Michigan Wolverine just could not rely on his jumper. More specifically, Caris could not rely on his pull-up jump-shot. LeVert shot exactly 50% on all field goals he attempted with two or fewer dribbles (via NBA.com).

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That mark falls to 42.2% when he does put up a shot with more than two dribbles. Such a drop-off is not unusual for perimeter players. Still, it does become an issue for LeVert when 45% of his attempts did come after more than two dribbles. This offseason, LeVert will have to vastly improve his balance and coordination when dribbling into his pull-up jump-shot. Otherwise, he must decide to mostly eschew the option from his arsenal.

However, LeVert did impress as a de-facto backup point guard as injuries to Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell thrusted him into the role. He thrived finding Joe Harris, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Jarrett Allen on cuts into the paint. LeVert’s smooth and coordinated gait allowed him to succeed in penetrating off straight drives.

If his penetration did not end up in dumping off to a cutting teammate, LeVert remained heady in finding open shooters if help sagged inside. Plus, the 6’7″ wing proved to be an excellent finisher off the bounce with his sweeping layups around defenders’ arms. LeVert earned 29 and-ones in 2017-18 (via Basketball-Reference). That is the same exact number of and-ones James Harden had in his 2016-17 MVP runner-up season.

LeVert’s Stand Out Nights:

The definitive 2017-18 Caris LeVert performance came on December 7th in Mexico City against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Caris came off the bench to lead a 15 point comeback from the 2nd quarter with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 10 assists. LeVert’s career night also showed his potential as a perimeter defender as he showed well against reigning MVP Russell Westbrook. Another standout LeVert game came from the March 4th defeat to the Clippers where LeVert scored a career high 27 points in 29 minutes and made five threes. The versatile wing also teased with a triple-double in a narrow overtime victory over the Miami Heat on March 31st with a 19 point, 12 rebound, and 8 assist box score filler night. The 12 rebounds also set a new career standard for Caris.

 

Offseason:

An offseason note of emphasis for LeVert should be to hit the dumbbells ferociously. LeVert has the ability to glide guarding most ballhandlers’ steps but his lack of strength failed him repeatedly. A hummingbird splatting against a window most resembled LeVert’s relationship with most opposing screens. LeVert did well to disrupt passing lanes, especially considering the conservative gambling Atkinson demands. However, he will remain below average defensively if he remains so easily neutralized by ball screens.

2016-17 Per-Game Stats:

  • Minutes: 21.7
  • Points: 8.2
  • Rebounds: 3.3
  • Assists: 1.9
  • Field Goal Percentage: 45.0%
  • Three Point Field Goal Percentage: 32.1% 
  • Free Throw Percentage: 72.0% 

2016-17 Per 36 Stats: 

  • Points: 13.6
  • Rebounds: 5.5
  • Assists: 3.2
  • Field Goal Attempts: 11.1
  • e: 45.0%
  • Three Point Field : 5.4
  • Free Throw Attempts: 2.7

2017-18 Per-Game Stats:

  • Minutes: 26.3
  • Points: 12.1 
  • Rebounds: 3.7
  • Assists: 4.2 
  • Field Goal Percentage: 43.5%
  • Three Point Field Goal Percentage: 34.7% 
  • Free Throw Percentage: 71.1%

2017-18 Per 36 Stats: 

  • Points: 16.6 
  • Rebounds: 5.0
  • Assists: 5.8
  • Field Goal Attempts: 14.
  • Three Point Field : 4.7
  • Free Throw Attempts: 3.6

Grade: B-minus

 

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