The absence of so many key players means Caris LeVert will have to take on a larger role for the Nets in Orlando, writes Greg Joyce of The New York Post. The 25-year-old guard has always been a reliable scorer, but he will need to serve as a play-maker and team leader with Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Prince, DeAndre Jordan, Wilson Chandler and Nicolas Claxton all unavailable.
“I think for me it’s just taking on that challenge of being a leader, being the leader of that group,” LeVert said. “Going down there with some of the most experience on the team, playoff experience. I feel like I relish these types of opportunities and situations. Everything aside, I’m looking forward to going down there and seeing what we can do.”
The restart will give LeVert a chance to prove he can be a third star in Brooklyn and show management it doesn’t have to pursue someone else to team with Irving and Durant. A strong performance could also raise his trade value if the Nets decide to go that route. He agreed to a three-year, $52.5MM extension last summer.
“I feel good right now,” said LeVert, who missed 24 games earlier this season after thumb surgery. “I haven’t played in games since March so that’s the question I really don’t know. I feel good in my workouts though. And if I didn’t, I honestly wouldn’t be going down there to play. So I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
There’s more on the Nets:
- Adding Jamal Crawford and Michael Beasley shows that Brooklyn intends to be competitive in Orlando despite its depleted roster, observes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Schiffer looks at what the veteran duo can provide the Nets along with scoring punch.
- Even with the additions, Brooklyn will need increased contributions from players such as Chris Chiozza and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, according to a NetsDaily article. Both could be competing for a chance to be on the roster next season. “I feel like it’s a big opportunity for me,” Chiozza said recently. “It’s something I’m looking forward to. I hope Spencer feels better, but if not, I’ll be ready to take on those extra minutes.”
- The Nets’ misfortune could wind up costing the Timberwolves a first-round pick this fall, writes Michael Rand of The Star-Tribune. Minnesota will receive Brooklyn’s first-rounder as long as the Nets reach the playoffs, which no longer seems certain with the number of players sitting out.