With the return of Caris LeVert from his lengthy injury, the Brooklyn Nets now have another great scorer and distributor of the basketball. It’s never a bad thing to have another talented player to go to, but now the Nets coaching staff will need to figure out what to do with this surplus of options.
From the time LeVert went down with his foot injury, the Nets relied heavily on Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell to do the bulk of the ball handling and play-making for the team. With Dinwiddie’s injury, the load then was placed squarely on Russell and he responded with wonderful performances that saw the Nets climb higher and higher up the Eastern Conference standings. Now, some of that load will be placed back on LeVert’s shoulders.
LeVert has shown that he’s close to getting back to 100%. In his more recent performance, he compiled nine assists in 30 minutes of action and helped the Nets find their way to overtime. Then, Russell took over as LeVert’s night ended, due to his minutes restriction.
Prior to LeVert being shut down for the night, Russell was not having a good game and was taking a back seat to LeVert. Then, in overtime the game was back in his hands and he responded in a big way. He carried the team to the win and finished with 36 points and eight assists.
It will be interesting to see how this duo is used moving forward. Clearly, you’d like to have both on the floor as much as possible, but they will have to understand when to take a back seat to the other. It’s similar to the situation in Houston where James Harden and Chris Paul have had to learn to coexist. Harden was putting up ridiculous numbers without Paul, but to be at their best, the Rockets needed Paul back to take the load off Harden. Now, the Nets have this dilemma.
Then there’s Dinwiddie. When he returns from injury, it could become even more of an issue. Kenny Atkinson will have his work cut out for him to figure out a rotation that puts each player in the best situation for the team to succeed. There’s only one ball to go around and the Nets will need to figure out how to spread it around effectively.