The Nets reportedly had Caris LeVert at No. 11 on their internal mock draft. It’s probably where he would have taken without that nasty record of foot injuries: three fractures and three surgeries in three years at Michigan.
A lot of draftniks thought it was a stretch for the Nets to take him at No. 20, after acquiring the pick from Indiana for Thaddeus Young. None of the big mock drafts had him in the first round, but the Nets believed in the 6’7" swingman. LeVert believed he was undervalued, too, that he should have gone at least that high. "I was a lottery type of talent," he argued.
The issue was the surgeries, but LeVert told reporters that the Nets foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Martin O’Malley, believes his foot woes are behind him.
"This surgery was a little different from the other ones. He did it a little bit differently. He’s really confident this should be the last one," he said. "He took like a bone transfusion from my hip to my foot, took a bone graft from my hip and put it in my foot. Plus a bigger screw."
So sort of a foot reconstruction, like what Dr. O’Malley did with Brook Lopez two years ago?
"Yeah, you could sorta say that ... it was very similar."
Asked if the new procedure can given him more confidence that he was beyond the series of foot injuries.
"Yeah, for sure," he answered. "Also, I’m just taking more time off this time than the last couple of times. In college, you’re kind of needed to come back right away. Especially at Michigan. The team needed me to be there with the young guys and kinda get into it. But here, we’re taking it a lot slower. So it’s been more beneficial for me."
Frustrating? "A little frustrating, but I’m a long term goal kind of guy."
What is that long term goal?
"I want to be one of those guys who’s an All-Star, a guy who’s one of the top guys for the team ... you can go to him, one of the vets on the team, someone the younger guys can look up to."
And the short term?
"I’ve been working with the staff. They’ve told me to keep progressing. I’ve been progressing pretty well. They haven’t given me any specific date. But I keep progressing at this pace, I should be ready to go in no time."
No one yet is saying how long that "no time" will be, but LeVert has peace of mind.