Caris LeVert shined in the Brooklyn Nets’ preseason debut Friday against Franca, dishing out a team-high nine assists en route to the victory.
Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?
Fans of this franchise have been waiting in anticipation for the new-look Brooklyn Nets to step onto the new-look Barclays Center hardwood—which, admittedly, looked pretty amazing. The team didn’t disappoint, due in large part to the passing acumen of Caris LeVert.
First points of the preseason belong to @CarisLevert! Two-handed 🔨 pic.twitter.com/PEgnHWHaxQ
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) October 4, 2019
What’s even more impressive is that LeVert put up gaudy passing numbers without the presence of Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris, both of whom are excellent at moving without the basketball and getting open.
LeVert’s proverbial leap into semi-stardom, or perhaps even emerging as one of the more dynamic wings in the NBA, has become expected (barring significant injury). He has the makings of a star, we know that. But if Friday night’s exhibition said anything about his game, our views on his skillset are justified.
The Nets are going to utilize the pick-and-roll plenty this upcoming season. When you have two elite roll men in these sets—DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen—along with plenty of perimeter shooting, it makes sense to.
Last year, LeVert ran the pick-and-roll as the primary ball-handler 5.7 times per game, in which he accounted for 0.93 points per possession. Not bad, especially when compared to D’Angelo Russell‘s 0.89 points per possession—though LeVert’s sample size is much smaller.
When they ran the pick-and-roll with Allen, who averaged 1.17 points per possession as the roll man in these sets last year, the two looked right at home.
Now, this may not be the most impressive highlight you’ve ever seen…but that’s not the point here. This action is going to be here a lot for the Nets this season. Seeing Allen and LeVert make it look effortless is obviously a really good thing.
Setting up the pick-and-roll and feeding Brooklyn’s bigs with well-executed pocket passes are not going to be the only source of LeVert’s assists this year, oh no.
He’s comfortable when driving towards the hoop, as illustrated by his 12.0 drives-per-game a season ago. Though this has resulted in unforced turnovers with erratic kick-outs to the perimeter in the past, it also can parlay into the following play:
He looked comfortable out there, never rushed, always in control of his live dribble and decision making. He looked like an All-Star. Am I overreacting after one preseason game that wasn’t played against an NBA team? You be the judge.
But I mean, come on, look at this bounce-pass. Revel in it.
LeVert’s career-high in assists per game is 4.2, which he registered in the 2017-18 season. With the weapons at his disposal, especially if Irving plays a lot of off-ball, that number should drastically increase.