When Cleveland originally brought in Caris LeVert during the 2021-2022 season, it was at the trade deadline. LeVert was someone the Cleveland brass thought could help buoy the bench unit that was gouged by the injury of Ricky Rubio. Rubio who tore his ACL, left the Cavaliers without a lead man to help operate on their bench unit. Since then, LeVert has been utilized in many other ways.
Name: Caris LeVert
Weight: 205 lb
2022-2023 stats: 74 games played, 30.2 mpg, 12.1 ppg (43.1 FG% and 39.2 3PT%), 3.8 rpg and 3.9 apg.
Caris’s role on the Cavaliers is constantly in flux, often depending on where the team most needs him to plug in and play on a given night. Whether as a starting three, filling in for one of the two star guards or coming off the bench, LeVert had to do it all. With Ricky Rubio currently away from the team, LeVert is back to his main reason for arriving in Cleveland, and it seems it is his best chance to thrive and work within his skill set.
LeVert is someone who plays at his best when he can play most of his minutes on ball. If you look at some of his best seasons statistically, most have come from relying on a heavy offensive workload. His stretch of games he played in Indiana is statistically, one of his better shooting seasons, and he ranked in the 93rd percentile in the league is usage.
The past few seasons for LeVert have been an adjustment in Cleveland. LeVert, whether in Brooklyn or Indiana, has not played with this much offensive talent that demanded touches. It also, has been visually apparent watching LeVert that he has had to change his play-style, which at times looks awkward.
LeVert this season is the most optimally set up to properly display his strengths as the lead man off the bench. Caris will be expected to help lead and operate a bench unit that got seriously improved offensively. Last year’s bench unit in Cleveland, was lack of perimeter help and shot creators to help ease the burden for LeVert. With the additions of Max Strus, Georges Niang and Ty Jerome that should help open the floor for LeVert to operate like a lead guard and facilitate when defenses crash down. There is not less pressure on him to be a floor spacing wing.
An underrated skill that LeVert has displayed is his passing, while Caris does have the label of a guy who likes to pound the air out of the ball, he also does a great job of seeing the floor. There are instances where LeVert finds himself with tunnel vision, I believe that was more of a product of how devoid the Cavaliers were for supporting offensive production outside of Garland and Mitchell. Even with a lacking supporting cast last season, LeVert ranked in the 90th percentile per cleaning the glass in assist percentage and in assist to usage rate.
All the ingredients are there for LeVert to succeed this season. LeVert will have space to operate as ball handling guard and will be surrounded by a cast of offensive minded players to decongest the cup. LeVert has also gradually become more comfortable in a support role as well, especially as a catch and shoot three-point threat. It feels like this should allow him to flaunt his talent that is starting to become more underrated and under-appreciated.