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Caris LeVert poised for another big push ... propelled by pairing with Kyrie Irving

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets-Media Day Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

In the Nets new line-up, Caris LeVert will be paired with Kyrie Irving in the backcourt, with Joe Harris manning the wing and Spencer Dinwiddie coming off the bench.

Can all that ball dominance work? It did last season with D’Angelo Russell and Irving is a bigger offensive threat. The head coach thinks so. Of course, he has to!

“Kyrie is a great catch-and-shoot shooter,” Kenny Atkinson said Monday. “Kyrie always tells me, ‘I’m really good off the ball, too.’ When Caris is driving, you know you have another shooter out there, so, I think it works well…I always say that I’d love multiple ball handlers, multiple downhill guys. At the end of the day, that’s what sucks the defense in.”

LeVert who missed 42 games last season with an ankle dislocation (and 78 in his Nets career) also thinks that with good health, the pairing will work well. Although Irving has missed practice due to a facial fracture, LeVert played a lot with Irving in the summer.

“It’s been fun,” LeVert said after Monday’s practice. “I’m learning a lot from him, and we’ll continue to build that chemistry…I think we’ll be able to play off of each other, make the game easier for each other and hopefully get a lot of wins.”

Atkinson believes that LeVert’s career is ready for another big jump. Playing with Irving is likely to help that rise.

“I think it’s really high, my personal opinion,” said Atkinson of LeVert’s potential. “I just remember those first how many games was it before he got hurt. We were all saying, this guy’s ready to make an All-Star jump before he got hurt. Of course, it was early, won a couple games for us at the end of the game, but was really dominating.

“And then let’s harp to the playoffs and when he started to hit his stride, I think that was really when he started to hit his stride. You could argue he was our best player in the playoffs. There’s some noise in there, but I always say this about, there are guys that want to be great, and then there are guys that are desperate to be great. He’s in that desperate category. And there’s only a small percentage of guys that are like that.”

Atkinson also said that LeVert has gotten stronger this summer, something not lost on his teammates, new or old.

“He can really score the ball,” said Garrett Temple. “Offensively, he’s very gifted. He plays like he’s 230 pounds when he’s really like 200. With his ability to create off the dribble, he’s going to be a really good player in this league for a long time.”

Meanwhile, Page Six had details of Kevin Durant’s 31st birthday at David & Busters in Times Square, a venue the Nets have used for fan events in the past.

Page Six quoted its “spies” as saying that KD celebrated with the entire team as well as his s business partner Rich Kleiman, former Giants star wide receiver Victor Cruz and supermodel Joan Smalls.

Videos posted on Twitter show Durant and Irving playing each other in a game of Pop-A-Shot basketball at the party. Here’s a couple of those videos...

No word on when Irving will participate fully in team practice. Brooklyn opens preseason Friday night at Barclays Center vs. Basquete Franca, a Brazilian team. Ian Eagle and Sarah Kustok will be handling the call for YES Network on YES Network, starting at 7:30 p.m.