The Indiana Pacers drafted Michigan guard Caris LeVert with the No. 20 pick of Thursday’s NBA draft. LeVert’s rights will be dealt to the Nets as part of an earlier trade involving Thaddeus Young.
LeVert averaged 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists for Michigan this past season, his senior year in Ann Arbor. The 6’7” guard was a regular starter for Michigan for his final three years in school, and he was a key role player on the Wolverines team that made the NCAA championship during his freshman season.
Though he dealt with a number of injuries in college, LeVert was productive when active and could lead to high rewards for Brooklyn.
Strengths: With great size and a well–rounded offensive game, LeVert has an enticing package of talent and skill level as a combo guard. He can pass or shoot over smaller defenders and is a good playmaker off the dribble. It’s easy to see a player with his combination of skills thriving in the modern NBA—especially given he was a career 40% three-point shooter at Michigan.
Weaknesses: After once being considered a lottery pick, LeVert battled numerous injuries over his college career that hurt his stock over time. The built-in health issues are significant. He’s big, but not overly muscular and can get pushed around as a defender. He doesn’t have one truly elite skill, so you’re drafting on his potential to be very good in a number of areas. He’s a possible home run, but there are no secrets as to the unpredictability here.
Explanation: This pick goes to the Nets in the Thaddeus Young trade, and this is exactly the type of upside play Brooklyn needs to make. LeVert’s long injury history makes him a major gamble, but the Nets don’t control their own first-round pick until 2019. He’s a lottery-type talent in a vacuum, and the Nets have to try and extract value from a difficult position. It’s the type of risk they can afford to take. He goes a little bit higher here than most expected, but it makes sense. Sean Marks’s first pick as GM is in the books. - Jeremy Woo