Brooklyn Nets newcomer of the year: Caris LeVert

Apr 2, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) puts up a shot against Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Nets win 91-82. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) puts up a shot against Atlanta Hawks in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Nets win 91-82. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports /

Hidden treasures are always delightful. On the night of the 2016-2017 NBA draft, the Brooklyn Nets channeled their inner Jacques Cousteau when they dove deep into the murky waters of the NBA draft and retrieved their shiny hidden gem – Caris LeVert.

Caris LeVert has been a steadying and positive force for the Brooklyn Nets in a minefield of a season. It has been a long road for the young kid from Ohio who had to grow up fast.

The blueprint to LeVert’s mindset and approach to the game of basketball was passionately expressed in an open letter which he penned to NBA General Managers prior to the aforementioned 2016-17 draft. At first glance, the letter seemed to be a message of reassurance regarding his health. LeVert famously had foot issues. His injuries kept him sidelined for large swathes of both his junior and senior years at the University of Michigan. Those injuries were also the reason his stock dropped when draft day came.

MUST READ: Brooklyn Nets have interest in JJ Reddick

Emotions begin to stir within as he described the untimely death of his father and how that tragic event taught him to persevere. His father died in 2010 when he was just 15 years old.

"“After my dad died, all I wanted to do was work as hard as I possibly could to accomplish all the things that I knew would have made him proud.” – Caris LeVert"

LeVert is both intelligent and humble in his words and actions. He is not your run of the mill NBA rookie. It seems like his conscious response to the adversity he has faced in his life has been the primary motivation behind his success. His fellow teammates, like well-respected vet Trevor Booker, have taken note of this young man’s character.

“Caris LeVert did a great job of coming in every day, getting his work done, listening to the veterans and being a true professional. He has a high basketball IQ and I think his ceiling is pretty high”

Caris Levert on Defense
Mar 10, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes (40) controls the ball against Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert (22) at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

As a wing man, let us take a look at this chart which compares LeVert to three of my favorite wing  prototypes in the game today when each was in their  respective rookie year.

Caris LeVert5721.
­Jimmy Butler*82268.641.41.00.8
Paul George6120.
Nicolas Batum7918.

*(Butler missed half his rookie season and only played 8 mpg – stats above are from his second year in the NBA)

MUST READ: Harry Giles doesn’t make sense for Brooklyn Nets

This chart is further evidence that LeVert is in line to be a Brooklyn Net for years to come. Notice that he averaged slightly fewer points per game than Jimmy Butler,  but played almost five minutes less per game. Most impressive perhaps, is the high assist clip which is indicative of LeVert’s basketball IQ and willingness to share the ball.

The idea of adding athleticism to this team was always part of the Mantra. The length and speed LeVert provided was impressive. Those attributes allowed him to switch off between defending guards or wings fluidly. The Nets are looking to push tempo at every opportunity and his skill set is a natural fit. LeVert goes to the basket he goes hard and with precision. He can create his own shot off the dribble.

Nobody is perfect, and LeVert is no different. He can use a bit more weight to help him finish at the rim.The mechanics on his release need quite a bit of work. All of this is part and parcel of developing into an NBA player. This will likely come with time and development.

Next: Imagining Ian Clark on the Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets had a lot of interesting newcomers this year as they went through the beginning stages of a complete overhaul. He may have been a rookie on a rebuilding team. He was one of the steadiest and most consistent players all year-long, though. LeVert was the brightest spot of a dark tunnel for the Nets.

The statsindicate a chance at potential greatness. Beyond any quantitative analysis of his game, the type of man LeVert is indicates that greatness has already been achieved. Caris LeVert is most definitely ‘Newcomer of the Year’.