It’s all about whether he can continue his recent play – April 3 against Toronto aside – for the playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets.
Even including April 3’s three-point showing against the Raptors, LeVert is enjoying his best stretch of basketball since returning from the gruesome November 12 dislocated foot injury two months ago.
How impressive has Caris LeVert (@CarisLeVert) been over the last two weeks?— Bryan Fonseca (@BryanFonsecaNY) April 9, 2019
The following numbers are true even despite a 3-point, 1/9 shooting performance against Toronto on April 3. This is the closest he's been to pre-injury form since his return.#Nets @NetsDaily pic.twitter.com/xpUy5xjFT9
On Tuesday, Kenny Atkinson lent his voice to LeVert’s recent performances.
”Just so anxious for him to get to that level,” Atkinson said, alluding to LeVert’s All-Star-like run to begin the 2018-19 season. “I think he was frustrated by not getting there sooner. I knew there was going to be a point where it clicked and I think that happened four or five games ago.”
Atkinson also says that they key in LeVert’s late-season breakout is consistency.
“The good thing, we haven’t seen any regression,” insists Atkinson. “You’re afraid that well it’s just a one-game thing or a two-game thing. Now he’s stringing three, four, five games together. I think it changes the conversation. To me, I look at it, he’s like an x-factor in these playoffs. If he can continue to play at the level he’s playing, even raise it one more level, that gives us more confidence going into the playoffs.”
Joe Harris attributes the comeback – more difficult than many may realize – to LeVert’s character and work-ethic. After all, no one in or around the Nets has a negative thing to say about CL Smooth. (Which is why many were so distraught at the injury to begin with.)
“I think it’s just a testament to Caris and his character, how much work he’s put in to be back to this point,” Harris said. “Even though the injury wasn’t as significant as what everybody originally thought, it was still a pretty terrible injury. For him to even get back to this point in the season, for him to be playing the way that he is, it just speaks to Caris and how hard he’s worked, how much time he’s put in in terms of recovery and physical therapy just to get back to this point.
“Obviously I think everybody knows that Caris has a bright future and I think having sort of an unfortunate setback, there’s a bit of a silver lining to it. Caris powered through some really difficult adversity and he’s just going to be better for it,” he added.
D’Angelo Russell, who assumed the role of All-Star following LeVert’s injury, said much of the same, and credited Brooklyn’s performance team.
“It’s huge. Just what that can do to your mental, getting hurt, the pressure you put on yourself, the pressure you guys put on us, it’s something you’re the only one is going to get through it,” said Russell. “No one else is going to get through it. So for us to see him break through like that – credit to our performance team as well. Those guys are scientists back there and just cooking up whatever is best and prepare our bodies for whatever it’s going to go through. Man, it’s good to see him like that. Well deserving.”
Now with the playoffs days away, the stage is set for the next stage in LeVert’s return. The Nets need him if they’re going make some noise in Brooklyn.