- Transition: LeVert was a very good transition scorer (he loved left wing threes in transition), but he was also a great setup man in transition. LeVert’s assist to turnover ratio was 3.6:1 in transition compared to just 1.4:1 in half court offense. While his half court passing was pedestrian, his transition assist-to-turnover ratio was fourth best in the Big Ten. Michigan runs selectively, but LeVert allows the Wolverines to be dangerous when they do.
Room for Improvement
- Mid-Range Game: LeVert is a consistent mid-range jumper and floater away from being a truly dominant player. His shooting efficiency inside the arc reduces significantly from his long range prowess and he’s also still developing as an off the dribble shooter (33.5 eFG%, 36th percentile per Synergy). LeVert shot 35% or worse on all jump shots inside the arc, a figure that he’ll look to improve next season.
- Defensive Discipline: LeVert generally guarded the opposition’s best perimeter player last season. At times he showed that he has all of the tools to be a shut down defender, but other times he seemed to slip in and out of games and had the tendency to give up buckets in a hurry. Pinpointing a reason for LeVert’s up and down defensive play is difficult, but with another young roster his defensive improvements will be critical.
Ball Screen Maturity: LeVert is great at creating offense for himself, but there’s room for him to improve in the ball screen game. A quarter of his offensive possessions last season were ball screens but he graded out in just the 59th percentile nationally. That’s not bad by any means, but his .893 points per possession are a ways off from Nik Stauskas (1.101 PPP, 94th percentile) andTrey Burke (1.045 PPP, 91st percentile in recent seasons. That’s grading on a ridiculous curve, but the bar has been set high.
Shining Moment: LeVert had many high points during the year, but he single-handedly took over the game in the first half against Michigan State in Ann Arbor.
There’s no arguing about LeVert’s sophomore season: he was terrific. He surpassed every reasonable expectation and seemed to carry Michigan whenever Nik Stauskas faltered.
The bigger question is what’s next for Caris LeVert? He will no longer be option 1b to Stauskas’s 1a and he’ll have to deal with defenses designed to shut him down. Dribble drive players are rarely the most efficient players and LeVert may have surpassed expectations as a shooter last year. Alex Cook’s player comparisons point toward some sort of regression as a junior and LeVert is sidelined this summer after undergoing foot surgery. Is LeVert due for a disappointing junior season?
It’s a reasonable question, but at this point it’s difficult to doubt the player development in Michigan’s program. LeVert’s sophomore year was unique because he was able to be a very efficient player, despite relying on isolation play to get a large portion of his offense. At times last season it seemed like John Beilein and his staff were learning new things that LeVert could do each day as the season wore on. With an offseason to devise new schemes as Michigan’s featured guard, LeVert should be poised for a big junior year as Beilein designs an offense around him.