Caris LeVert of the Indiana Pacers made his debut for the team March 13th, against the Phoenix Suns. Ever since the Victor Oladipo trade that sent James Harden to the Nets and Victor to the Houston Rockets, The Pacers have struggled, missing Oladipo’s shot creation and scoring specifically in the fourth quarter. Without an immediate replacement for his output due to a cancerous mass found on Levert’s kidney that required surgery, the Pacers were left short staffed. The Pacers were 9-18 in the stretch without Oladipo as the Pacers struggled on both ends of the ball. Much of the offense was uninspiring and the defence seemed to have no size with the Holiday brothers and McDermott needing to play the small forward position when they all normally play shooting guard.
The Pacers are 3-2 with Caris Levert in the lineup with all 3 wins on teams over .500. One against the Suns and two over the Miami Heat. Caris LeVerts has not had any games that were statistically impressive, only averaging 14 points, but his impact is obvious when watching the game. He provides a factor that defenses have to account for on pick and rolls and isolation. This has created space for Brogdon and Sabonis to run the offense smoother with their passing abilities.. Also, Caris LeVerts scoring has been very timely with multiple clutch buckets in the wins over Miami.
Caris LeVert needs to pick up his production on the offensive end for the Pacers to have a chance of, not only making the Playoffs, but making a deeper run than the last few seasons. I’m not particularly worried about his production because he has already shown flashes of his capability with this team. Right now, it's just about getting used to the flow of the offense and understanding teammates. In Brooklyn, he was the primary ball handler and facilitator, but now Caris will be surrounded by people who can make shots and find him in his spots on offense. Once this Indiana team is playing at full strength, they have a chance to shake up the east.