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Caris LeVert could be the Cleveland Cavaliers’ missing piece

LeVert could be finding his role just before the playoffs

Denver Nuggets v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Lauren Bacho/NBAE via Getty Images

Caris LeVert’s season has been filled with ups and downs. He’s been asked at times to play an unfamiliar off-ball role while fitting alongside Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. While the journey hasn’t been smooth, the last week and a half have shown that he has the skills to be the Cleveland Cavaliers’ missing piece.

LeVert is in the midst of his best five-game stretch with Cleveland. During this time period, he’s averaging 18.4 points on .541/.516/.769 shooting splits with 4.8 assists, 1.4 turnovers and 2.4 steals per game.

This recent surge can be attributed to catching fire from deep. LeVert is a streaky player who is known for having unsustainable shooting streaks. However, where his shots are coming from is a reason to think he could be turning a corner.

During this stretch, LeVert is taking 46.9% of his shots from three. On the season, only 38.8% of his shots have been from distance which is already the highest percentage of his career since his rookie season even though it is still well below average for a wing.

Of the 6.2 three-point attempts he’s taking during the last five games, 4.4 of those are catch-and-shoot threes which he’s knocked down 45.5% of. LeVert has been one of the better catch-and-shoot shooters on the Cavs this season at 38.4%, but the volume has been lower than you’d like at just 2.8 attempts per contest.

The increased attempts from three have come in place of the midrange shot. Only 23.4% of his attempts have come in the midrange during this streak compared with the 30% he’s attempted on the season. This is helpful as LeVert is hitting a dreadful 31.3% of his shots from the midrange this season.

LeVert has been a positive contributor despite the scoring concerns because of his playmaking. He is exceptional at manipulating defenses off-the-dribble, especially so in the pick-and-roll, to create easy baskets for the bigs like he did against the Philadelphia 76ers last week.

LeVert’s ability to provide decent defense while being a good secondary/tertiary creator is why he’s apart of the Cavs’ three most successful lineups. This includes the five-man unit of him alongside the core four of Garland, Mitchell, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen outscoring opponents by 13.4 points per 100 possessions.

Cutting down on midrange shots and getting a larger portion of his attempts coming from three is going to create spacing while making the offense function better even when he inevitably cools off from three.

The Cavs have the best point differential in the league despite not having many five-man lineups that functionally make sense. That, along with shaky bench rotations, is why the Cavs aren’t expected to make a deep postseason run like you’d typically expect one with the best net rating to do.

LeVert becoming a more willing shooter, like he has the last five games, elevates what has been one of the Cavs’ best five-man units while also bolstering a streaky bench unit.

It’s fair to question whether LeVert will revert back to his old shot selection once this hot streak ends. If he doesn’t, the Cavs might have finally found the guy to pair with their core four.