Caris LeVert should be in better shape as Cavs’ PnR threat in 2023-24

Cleveland Cavaliers, Caris LeVert. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers, Caris LeVert. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

Caris LeVert was brought back by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the beginning stages of 2023 NBA Free Agency, as the two sides agreed to a two-year, $32 million contract. LeVert and the Cavaliers reportedly had mutual interest in him being back, and it was not shocking when he was re-signed.

LeVert has had somewhat of an uneven tenure thus far with Cleveland since he was acquired near the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline from the Indiana Pacers, and last season, he had some difficult getting going as Cleveland’s starting 3. Offensively, LeVert had 12.1 points per game in 2022-23, which was tied for the second-lowest scoring average of his career.

Fortunately, as the season progressed, LeVert did get more comfortable as he moved to more so a bench role, in the regular season in that sense, and to LeVert’s credit, his defense and playmaking were constants.

Throughout the year, he did make a difference for the Cavaliers as a passer, wing defensive option and team defender, and his catch-and-shoot viability (a career-best 39.2 percent shooting clip from three) was a welcomed sight.

From here, next season and looking onward, feasibly in a key bench role for Cleveland, LeVert should be in a better position to be more on-point as a pick-and-roll option as well, which is something to keep in mind when he’s in there.

LeVert should be in better shape as a Cavs’ PnR threat in 2023-24.

LeVert has shown buy-in to having a lower usage in his minutes with the likes of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell and Evan Mobley being in the fold for the Cavs, but Caris is still one of Cleveland’s top playmakers and pick-and-roll options.

Now, he did display encouraging off-ball play last year, and hopefully, that can continue for Cleveland and his effectiveness playing with Garland, Mitchell and/or with them for stretches.

That said, with his ability to make plays on-ball and various pick-and-roll passes, entering next season, he should seemingly fare well as a PnR threat for the Wine and Gold come next season, which will be his second full campaign with the Cavaliers. Last season, he placed in the 31st percentile among PnR scorers in ball-handling situations, per Synergy Sports, which wasn’t great, factoring in inside the arc inconsistencies.

LeVert did have his share of impactful pick-and-roll stretches in 2022-23, but playing some with offseason acquisitions such as Max Strus (via sign-and-trade) and Georges Niang (free agency signing) should help LeVert in pick-and-roll.

Whether that’s in sequences with Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, Damian Jones or some pick-and-pop instances with Niang, LeVert, similarly to others, should benefit from improved spacing.

LeVert had issues getting downhill and to go-to spots for much of last season on-ball, however, the spacing improvement will make a difference for him as a PnR scorer and feasibly passer. That’s including at times playing with free agency signing Ty Jerome as a shooting target, for example.

Of course, it would be ideal if LeVert is able to build upon his catch-and-shoot proficiency from last season as an off-ball contributor, and that’s evident.

Whether or not that occurs, though, with Cleveland’s new additions, and him entering his second full season with the Cavs, and hopefully being more comfortable playing alongside Garland and others, he should be in better shape as a PnR threat.

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He’s still one of Cleveland’s most talented passers and slashers, and hopefully, he can get off to a better start on offense in 2023-24 to build on his close to last year.