Snuck into the James Harden blockbuster was Caris LeVert getting rerouted from his initial destination Houston to Indiana to play heir to Victor Oladipo and, presumably, his minutes and shots for the Pacers.
LeVert might not be well known outside of Brooklyn, especially since he’s dealt with injuries the past few seasons, so allow me to (re)introduce him to you by way of some numbers so far this season.
As of Thursday night (before the games), there were 32 players in the NBA who average 4+ assists per game, 4+ rebounds per game, and 4+ 3-point attempts per game.
There are 20 players who also average at least 34.9% on their threes, including LeVert who’s 3PT% is (predictably) 34.9%. Already, we see that LeVert provides a very nice all around stat line, and this isn’t even including his scoring nor his steals. There’s a reason he’s a highly rostered player in fantasy.
Only 17 of those 20 also score at least 18 points per game.
Only one of those players averages UNDER 30 minutes per game. I’ll let you guess who. Hint: this article is about him.
Oladipo, who’s also on those lists above, has averaged 33.3 MPG this season, while LeVert averaged 27.8 MPG while on the Nets. I think we can safely assume that LeVert will be playing more in Indy, so go ahead and add five more minutes worth of production to your estimations of him.
Or, we could think about it this way: LeVert’s per-36 minutes stat line is 24 PPG/5+ RPG/7+ APG. Only four other players in the NBA are doing likewise or better, and I’ve heard they’re pretty good: Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, and... James Harden.
The Pacers currently have the eighth best offensive rating and the ninth best defense. Only the Lakers and the Bucks also have two top ten team ratings. Indiana also has the fifth best point differential in the NBA.
LeVert is still just 26 years old, he’s going to one of the best teams in the NBA, and he’ll probably fit like a glove because his profile seems to be balls out bona fide. He’s going to be just fine in Indiana. And, if he pops and averages anywhere near his per-36 numbers, then the Pacers will be just fine, too. Especially since TJ Warren will hopefully be back for the second half of the season.
Strangely, the Pacers could come out of this mega-Harden trade looking like the most complete team.