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It may not sound conventional, but to Caris LeVert, the NBA’s practice schedule compared to that of the collegiate level has helped him get past injuries he had while playing at Michigan.
The Brooklyn Nets’ 2016 first-round draft choice, selected with the 20th overall pick, missed parts of both his junior and senior seasons at Michigan because of foot ailments.
LeVert had three foot surgeries on the same place over the course of his collegiate career. Entering the draft still banged up, with an unclear timetable on when he would return, he was projected as a second rounder.
“I think that a lot of people are like, ‘Oh, he only — he got hurt in the college season, where they only played 40 games. How is he gonna play 82 games in the NBA season?’” LeVert told Ethan Sears of the New York Post.
“They don’t really look at the fact that in college, you practice way harder than in the NBA. Cause in the NBA, you can’t necessarily practice that hard, ’cause there’s a game basically every other day.”
The 6-foot-7, 203-pound swingman — with a 6-10 wingspan — came into his own in his second season in the NBA for the Nets a year ago.
The 23-year-old averaged 12.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 26.3 minutes in 71 games (10 starts) for Brooklyn, shooting 43.5 percent from the field, 34.7 percent from long range and 71.1 percent from the free-throw line.
Caris believes the Nets, who finished 28-54 last season (12th in the Eastern Conference), are ready to take a big step forward this season.
“We’re super confident that we can take that step,” he told Alex Squadron of Slam Magazine. “It’s just a matter of time before we knock that door down. We got the right guys, we play the right way.
“Like I said, it’s just a matter of time.”