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Nets’ Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert return in time to get in sync

Brooklyn Nets newly acquired guard/forward Allen Crabbe answers

Brooklyn Nets newly acquired guard/forward Allen Crabbe answers questions from the press at the Brooklyn Nets HSS Training Center on Thursday, July 27, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Allen Crabbe cut from the left wing toward the top left of the foul circle, took a pass and launched a jumper, doing the process repeatedly before taking his act to the right side. At another basket, Caris LeVert put up shot after shot near a window facing lower Manhattan.

The 6-7 LeVert and the 6-6 Crabbe have rejoined Brooklyn’s skyline. These two Nets wings were back in motion Saturday at the HSS Training Center, returning to practice fully after missing the first two preseason games. Their sprained ankles suffered during training camp the week before have healed

They’re listed as probable for the second-to-last preseason matchup, against the Knicks Sunday night at Barclays Center.

“It obviously gives us a little more offensive firepower,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “It’s just nice to integrate them and start to get them playing with our other players. It’s going to take time.”

LeVert was here as a rookie last season, but there are six notable newcomers, including Crabbe. LeVert and Crabbe will have two opportunities at developing chemistry with the rest of the Nets in games before the season tips off Oct. 18 at Indiana.

“I definitely think it’s big,” Crabbe said. “It’s one thing to play against your teammates all summer and during training camp. It’s important to me to get some looks from a different team and just to get up and down with my teammates.”

The Nets signed Crabbe as a restricted free agent in 2016, but Portland matched the four-year, $75 million offer sheet. The Nets, however, didn’t forget about the four-year Trail Blazer, though, acquiring him on July 25 in exchange for forward Andrew Nicholson.

“When a team really wants you like that, it says a lot,” Crabbe said.

Atkinson has challenged him to play a better brand of defense, like he did in his first two seasons. The offense? No worries. Crabbe, working primarily as a reserve, averaged 10.7 points and shot 44.4 percent from three-point range last season, second in the NBA among qualifying players.

“We take a lot of threes,” Atkinson said. “That’s going to translate to hopefully our offense being more efficient.”

Indiana took LeVert with the 20th overall pick last year and dealt his rights to the Nets. After recovering from foot surgery, he brought energy and potential, averaging 8.2 points across 57 games, including 26 starts. He averaged 15.3 points in his final four games.

“He’s a versatile, versatile player,” Atkinson said.

LeVert is capable of playing small forward, shooting guard and even the point. Crabbe can play small forward and shooting guard. DeMarre Carroll started at small forward in the two exhibition wins, with combo guards D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin. The Nets have a crowd vying for wing time.

“We have a lot of talent this year at the wing spots,” LeVert said. “So that will definitely be a success for us as a team, and individually going against those guys every day makes you better.”

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