3. LeVert looked more like revert on Saturday
Caris LeVert is scuffling in his comeback from a dislocated right foot.
It’s not in his athleticism — he’s plenty explosive. It’s not in his freedom of movement, he’s looking loose and easy when he moves.
The problem is that Caris LeVert is deeply inside Caris LeVert’s own head right now.
In the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 117-115 win by the Brooklyn Hornets over the Charlotte Hornets, LeVert twice got into the lane with an opportunity to try and finish or draw contact … or both.
On both occasions, he kicked the ball to the corner late in the shot clock, where center Jarrett Allen had no choice but to put up 3-pointers.
Trailing late in the game, one has to think the Nets would be happier getting a shot inside the paint from the guy who was their best scorer and their closer early in the season over a 3-point attempt from a guy who entered the game as a 16.2 percent shooter from deep.
LeVert made his first two 3-point attempts of the game, both in the first half. The problem was that he didn’t make anything else. He finished 2-for-8 from the floor, 2-for-4 from deep, with six points, five rebounds, two assists, a steal, a block and three turnovers in 30 minutes.
His touch is still not there and the longer it takes for him to find it, the more difficult it is becoming for LeVert to do just that — find his touch and his confidence.
In the five games LeVert has been back, he’s started three of them, but is averaging only 9.4 points, 4.0 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 23.7 minutes per game, shooting 34.5 percent overall and 26.3 percent on 3.8 attempts per game from deep.
He’s too good a player for this to continue, but the longer it takes for him to find that rhythm, the harder he seems to make it on himself.
That’s natural — a guy wants to come back and immediately do what he was doing before. The younger the player, the stronger that tendency can be.
This is a guy desperately in need of a breakaway dunk or a tough and-one finishing through contact. Either one of those events should help settle him in and get him playing and reacting more and thinking less.
Because this hesitant, shaky LeVert is light years from the guy who put away the New York Knicks in October and the Denver Nuggets in November with late-game winners.