Caris LeVert will use Rising Stars snub as motivation this season

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As one of the many young standout players on the Brooklyn Nets, Caris LeVert averaged 12.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 26.3 minutes over 71 games last season.

On the surface, those numbers might not seem extremely impressive.

However, thrust in the middle of coach Kenny Atkinson’s offense that prides itself on ball movement and spacing, LeVert was asked to play a number of roles including floor general, pick-and-roll initiator, wing threat and rim attacker.

A few times, LeVert showed off why many regard him to have a sky-high potential. On December 7 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, he put up 21 points, five rebounds, 10 assists, two blocks and two steals in 30 minutes.

On March 4 against the Los Angeles Clippers, he went 11-of-19 from the field for 27 points and added five rebounds, five assists, a block and two steals in 29 minutes.

Then, on March 31, he nearly recorded a triple-double with 19 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in 35 minutes against the Miami Heat.

While those individual performances were outstanding, his offensive consistency was also on display all season long. In a 15-game span from December 4 to January 1, he scored in double-figures 14 times. He also recorded 10-plus points in 15 of his last 18 games of the season.

Therefore, there are a lot of reasons why Nets fans should be excited about LeVert’s future. He might even be in store for a breakout campaign in 2018-2019.

Despite his success last year, LeVert was left out of the 2018 Rising Stars Game during the All-Star festivities and was also left off of every NBA All-Rookie team after the 2016-2017 season. As a result, he will be using both snubs as fuel moving forward.

A chip on his shoulder

“Yeah, absolutely I feel like I was snubbed from that game,” he recently told Alex Squadron of SlamOnline.com. “Last year as well with the All-Rookie Teams, I felt like I should’ve been on that too. That’s really nothing new for me. I feel like I get snubbed from a lot of things, but that’s just motivation.”

LeVert made it clear that he can and will play wherever he’s asked this year.

“I’m just preparing myself mentally and physically obviously to play whatever position need be, to do whatever is needed on the court,” he explains. “Whether that’s the point guard, shooting guard, small forward, whatever it may be. I’m trying to prepare myself mentally for whatever is being thrown at me.”

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That includes point guard, even though D’Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and the newly-signed Shabazz Napier are all on the roster.

“That was good for me to be able to experience because I’ve played point guard sparingly, but probably never for that long of a span,” LeVert explained about his experience playing the point last season. “I was the second unit’s point guard for probably 25-30 games straight and I got into a rhythm and started to get very comfortable with that. … So I think going forward that’s definitely something that I proved I can do.”

It’s safe to assume that LeVert will continue to progress in the upcoming season. Judging by his comments above, he will undoubtedly have a chip on his shoulder until he breaks through and receives the recognition that he feels he deserves.

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