It’s very early this season, but it’s evident that Caris LeVert has made his presence felt for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
LeVert has had 18.8 points per contest for Cleveland, and while there’s still going to be some inconsistency with LeVert, it’s been simple to understand why he was re-signed. He’s been playing quality basketball for the Cavs bench, for the most part, and he’s had quite an impact.
LeVert has had a few big games in the last handful of Cavs outings of late, and getting deeper into November, his attacking style should be something that carries forward. When he’s been in there, LeVert has given the Cavaliers a jolt from getting downhill, taking advantage in the open floor at times, and his lack of settling has helped him draw free throws regularly.
LeVert’s slashing has paid off for the Cavaliers, and that should continue going forward.
After what was a productive offseason where he was able to work on his game, as compared to last offseason, after he was reportedly rehabbing from having surgery on a torn labrum, LeVert has been on-point out of the gates.
He was still finding his way with Cleveland during really what seemed to be the first half of last regular season, before he was moved to more so a bench role. After that, he eventually appeared to be more comfortable, and his two-way and off-ball play was a pleasant surprise from there, and he’s often given the Cavs a boost off the bench in early-season play here.
In his last five games, he’s averaged 18.2 points, to go with 5.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest. He’s been an active driver, and with better shooting around him in lineups regularly this season, it’s enabled LeVert to often beat his defenders by his explosive first step, leading to him getting to the cup or generating foul line trips.
Of course, LeVert having 16 foul shots, and hitting a career single-game high 13 in Cleveland’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder skewed the overall splits, but LeVert’s been eating up space effectively thus far this season. Even without the last OKC game in mind, LeVert has registered four-plus free throw attempts in three of Cleveland’s other four games since the Cavs’ shorthanded loss on Halloween to the New York Knicks, which he also missed.
LeVert’s been able to make things happen in this recent stretch for the Cavaliers from him attacking off the bounce, and with the spacing improvements and him at times being a menace in passing lanes himself, he’s given Cleveland juice off the bench.
Coupled with the scoring efforts, as was previously referenced, LeVert has tacked on 3.8 assists in this last five-game sample for the Cavaliers, which has been nearly what he’s averaged in his Cavs tenure overall (3.9).
His paint/rim pressure and his timing as a passer has led to him creating quality looks for guys like Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen of late, and as his chemistry improves with them, that could for shooters such as Max Strus and/or Georges Niang. For good measure, according to Cleaning The Glass, LeVert’s placed in the 83rd percentile in assist rate in early-season play, and at the same time, in the 95th percentile in turnover rate.
Now, LeVert’s deep shooting has dipped some from last season, as his three-point shooting mark has been 33.3 percent, as compared to last year, when he shot a career-best 39.2 percent from there.
However, even with there likely being relative inconsistency there, one would assume, on self-creation threes, LeVert has still shot 35.3 percent on catch-and-shoot three-point attempts, per NBA.com’s shot tracking data.
Maybe more anything, though, the early results from LeVert as a slasher have been very impressive of late.
With what he provides as a playmaker and defender factored in, too, the general three-point shooting regression from LeVert isn’t a huge deal, either. The Cavs benefit from his paint pressure, and that’s helped him get off to an encouraging start as a pull-up threat as well.