Caris LeVert and the Brooklyn Nets were one of the biggest surprises of the 2018-19 season and now the rest of the league is on notice.
Entering the 2018-19 season, the Brooklyn Nets were an overlooked team most expected to finish in the lottery. However, Caris LeVert and the Nets shocked the league by making the playoffs as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
“We put the league on notice,” LeVert told Adrian Wojnarowski on The Woj Pod. Brooklyn’s surprising season has put this young squad on the map, but it means they won’t be sneaking up on anyone next season.
While the Nets were “underrespected and overlooked,” according to LeVert, that will change next season.
Although Brooklyn bowed out in five games to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs, LeVert’s unique talent was on full display. In the series, LeVert averaged 21.0 points on 49% shooting from the floor and 46% from three-point range. He also chipped in 4.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.0 steals per game.
He was one of the few Nets who played consistently in the series and his ability to isolate off of mismatches was vital to Brooklyn’s gameplan. LeVert looked as good as he did pre-injury when he was in early conversations for Most Improved Player.
The shifty shooting guard discussed his midseason injury and his mindset in the immediate aftermath of it.
“I had goals before the season—a lot of goals—but as soon as I got hurt, everything just ran through my mind, like ‘Man, it’s over with.’ Like I got to do this thing all over again,” LeVert said. “I got to prepare all over again. I got to do my rehab for a full year. And obviously at that point, I was watching Gordon Hayward and he was kind of struggling coming back a little bit. Obviously, he’s doing great now but at that time, I was thinking, ‘Man, it’s gonna be a while before I feel like myself again, but obviously, you know that wasn’t the case.”
LeVert’s playoff series was proof positive that it didn’t take him long to find his rhythm. Although Brooklyn won’t have the element of surprise heading into next season, they will have a fully healthy LeVert.