Jan 13, 2021 6:07 p.m. PST
James Harden is now in Brooklyn on a 4-team mega-deal that will cause ripples in the NBA for now and the future. While the beard was the big fish, Caris LeVert moved to Indiana to replace Victor Oladipo, who landed on the missiles.
Suddenly, the Pacers swapped a player who apparently wanted out of Indy for a man who more than could be equipped to take on this role. The odds were definitely considered when the NBA championship odds were redesigned.
Earlier today you would have found the Pacers’ title odds at 12,000. Now they have shot into the top half of the league with a rapidly shortened number of 4900. Let’s see if this rising star is ready for prime time.
Rockets received: ◻️ Oladipo◻️ Exum◻️ Kurucs◻️ 3 BKN first round players◻️ 1 MIL first◻️◻️ 4 BKN first round swaps
It has Took a while, but the Indianapolis player, who finished 20th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, will finally qualify for the Pacers. He was immediately turned on the nets for Thaddeus Young in 2016, but he reappeared on Indy’s radar as he emerged as a legitimate NBA talent.
LeVert has his each season scoring average of 8.2 Points per game as a rookie increased to his fourth season last year when he averaged 18.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists for a Brooklyn team that saw injured stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant from the sideline.
During the restart last year, he cemented his status as a young stallion, averaging 25 points, 6.7 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in a decimated Nets squad.
He was adjusting to a sixth man role, with Irving and Durant pushing him down the hierarchy, but LeVert put together his best four-game stretch of the year when Irving was eliminated. He has taken on a bigger role, averaging 26.5 points, 7.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 50% off the field and 44% off three.
That included a spectacular 43 point performance a loss to Memphis, where he hit seven threes and added six assists and five rebounds.
Hoping LeVert will turn into an all-star player is a gamble for Indiana. The Pacers need this star to advance to the next level. Oladipo was out, but a long hamstring injury forced the Pacers to swing.
They consist of an exceptional core of really good players. It starts with the great all-star man Domantas Sabonis, who is second on the team with 21.8 points per game and a team of 12.5 boards.
He is flanked by leading scorer Malcolm Brogdon, who is 22nd , 5 points and 7.5 assists lead while shooting 45.3% from depth. TJ Warren – who has dealt with injuries – Myles Turner and Doug McDermott are all getting double-digit results.
Brogdon and Sabonis are the offensive center, but head coach Nate Bjorkgren should be able to find a way to include LeVert. They’re already seventh best in the league and fourth in the NBA with 48.8%.
Perhaps Bjorkgren can go back to his Raptors days when a Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet backyard thrived and coexisted. LeVert doesn’t have to be closer, but the most important thing is that he can be. This is a weapon the Pacers didn’t have until Wednesday.
The Pacers are a good squad and if all goes well they can be considered contenders. But stars rule this league, and their role in this trade may have improved it, but also put James freaking Harden on a team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.
Only injuries can derail the nets, and that’s where you look when you’re betting a title on the Pacers – or any other team in the east not called Brooklyn.
Eric has been in and around the sport since 1997 and is a truly knowledgeable expert. The two-time journalism graduate specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric has been featured in local and national publications.
Having been in and around the sport since 1997, Eric is a truly knowledgeable professional. The two-time journalism graduate specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric has been featured in local and national publications.
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