The Brooklyn Nets made one extremely bold move Thursday selecting Caris LeVert with the 20th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. They took a risk to begin with by trading Thaddeus Young for the No. 20 pick. But the biggest risk was taking a chance on LeVert.
LeVert, 21, was projected as the No. 50 pick by Draft Express, but the Nets apparently had him much, much higher than that. He averaged 10.4 points on 40.1 percent shooting from deep. He's a 6'7" combo guard who played just 31 games in his final two seasons at Michigan after three different foot injuries. He told reporters that he probably won't play in Summer League, but that his foot feels good.
Here's what Draft Express had to say about him:
LeVert's height, measured at 6'7", is his best physical asset and one of the main reasons NBA teams are excited about him. He has the potential to play anywhere from the point guard spot to the small forward position, but looks to fit best as a combo guard at the next level. His size allows him to shoot or pass over smaller defenders as he can easily see the floor.
Offensively, LeVert is a jack of all trades. It starts with his jumper, and he has developed into an excellent outside shooter over the past three years. He knocked down 40% of his three point attempts in his college career, and has a fluid stroke that shows he should be able to translate his performance to the NBA line. He converted 47.1% of his 34 total catch and shoot opportunities in his senior season according to Synergy Sports Technology.
The potential is certainly there, and some even say he could've been lottery talent, but the 21-year-old had three surgeries done in the span of two years on his left foot. Dr.Martin O'Malley, the Nets foot/ankle specialist who fixed both Brook Lopez and Kevin Durant foot injuries, also performed LeVert's surgeries at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
When LeVert got down on himself after surgery, KD told him not to worry, that 'once Dr. O'Malley is done with you, you'll be as good as new.'
LeVert knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity. As profiled in his Players Tribune piece, LeVern lost his father to a heart attack when he was only 15 years old. Like many other Nets players from this past season, adversity made them the men they are today.
"After my dad died, all I wanted to do was work as hard as I possibly could to accomplish all the things that I knew would have made him proud.
When he passed away, I had to push myself. And I wasn't going to be denied."
On playing in Brooklyn:
"I know it's a great city. I played here a couple times in college. We played in this arena. I'm a midwest guy, so I'm not that far away from here, but like I said, it's a great city and I'm glad to be here. I'm ready to work my butt off."
On his role:
"I'm just trying to do whatever it takes. Next year as a rookie, I know rookies have a tougher role on the team, but I'm ready to fulfill whatever role the team needs me to do. And then for the long haul just get better, be one of the guys for the team."