Potential regression from Cavs’ LeVert from 3 may not matter as much now

Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Cleveland Cavaliers have made several moves in recent days with NBA Free Agency kicking off, and the two most notable moves from Cleveland were the Giannis Niang signing and then sign-and-trade acquisition of Max Strus.

Both of those players provide a different shooting dynamic Cleveland did not have before, from a movement shooting and spacing standpoint. Neither were necessarily bargain deals, and both will have pressure to knock down their threes, but it was nice to see the Cavaliers do their part to open up more room for Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell.

What might have gone a bit under the radar, though, was the re-signing of Caris LeVert, which was the first move Cleveland made.

LeVert had his ups and downs offensively as a scorer, however, he contributed in a number of other ways throughout last season, and his two-way play got better and better as he got more comfortable. His defense and playmaking were constants, and those clearly made an impression on the Cavs.

Despite the reduction in his overall splits offensively, and inconsistencies inside the arc, LeVert did connect on a career-best 39.2 percent of his three-point attempts, and in doing so, canned a career-high 127 triples in 2022-23. He demonstrated far better off-ball play than one could’ve expected going into the season, and hopefully that continues.

That said, LeVert could be in line for more on-ball looks again, seemingly with him settling into a sixth man role being a reasonable expectation, and with his effectiveness in that role last season as the season wore on. With that in mind, and him handling playmaking duties as well, his three-point shooting clip could take a hit, also when factoring in LeVert has been a 34.4 percent shooter from deep in his career.

One wouldn’t want to see that play out, of course, but with Cleveland’s recent moves, that potential regression from LeVert may not matter as much now.

LeVert’s deep shooting clip possibly coming back down may not matter much with the Cavs’ recent moves.

This isn’t to suggest LeVert can’t be at or near that level of deep shooting he had last season. He deserves his credit for that, and his cutting was another bright spot as well, which led to him having success even playing off of Garland and Mitchell.

As we were hinting at, though, given the track record, LeVert’s deep shooting hit rate could seemingly could regress somewhat, given he shot 33.1 percent from three in the four seasons prior, in differing and new situations to some degree, in fairness.

He was traded twice over that span, first by the Brooklyn Nets and then by the Indiana Pacers. Those things had to have affected his efficiency and rhythm to some extent, but from here, he should be very comfortable with Cleveland, and those new faces around LeVert should only help, and take some pressure off of him as a perimeter threat and open up driving lanes.

Strus and Niang made 197 and 154 three-point shots in the regular season in the 2022-23 campaign, and 43 and 12 deep balls in the playoffs. In Niang’s case, those came in two rounds, in which he was coming off the bench.

Point being, with those two guys in the fold for the Cavaliers now, in stretches playing with them, one should foresee LeVert having more chances to again be a dangerous slashing presence a bunch. Plus, those two could be go-to targets for him for kickouts and skip feeds.

LeVert has good vision for a wing, and factoring in that, his creation and pick-and-roll acumen, having one or two big-time floor spacers in lineups with him, aside from Garland and Mitchell, could make a big difference for LeVert himself, too. Furthermore, both Strus and Niang are legitimate transition perimeter shooting threats, which could give Cleveland a different way to attack in stretches of games as well, particularly with LeVert, who is great in the open floor.

So, overall, while his three-point volume and connection rate could potentially decrease, LeVert could realistically still shoot a decent clip on catch-and-shoot deep attempts, and with more shooting variety for Cleveland now, some deep shooting regression from him might not matter as much as potentially before.

Next. 2 reasons why Cavs fans will love Niang. dark

If LeVert makes an impact defensively, can make plays getting downhill and generate deep ball looks for others, he’ll be a notable spark plug game-in and game-out, provided he’s healthy.