The Nets probably would have a better record right now if they had kept solid frontcourt veteran Thaddeus Young. But the Nets are not built for “right now.” They are designed with the likes of Caris LeVert in mind. Every step he takes is a hidden victory, a planted seed.
LeVert, the 2016 first-round draft pick acquired from the Pacers for Young, is making the double major adjustment of coming off left foot surgery and debuting in the NBA. He and the Nets are hopeful. In fact, his energetic play was one of the very few positives to come out of the scorching loss at Cleveland on Friday night.
“He’s a bundle of energy. He’s starting to understand the rhythm of the NBA game,” Kenny Atkinson said before the Nets beat the Hornets, 120-118, on Monday night at Barclays Center. “He plays so hard and he’s so competitive, but there is a rhythm to the game. We haven’t asked him to slow down yet but I think that’s where it’s got to go, just for reading situations.”
The 6-7 wing, who scored five points in 15 minutes Monday night, said he feels great and that he is “blessed” to be in New York. He added, “It’s been fun for me, just coming back and playing again.”
LeVert agreed that offensive rhythm is his biggest hurdle. The coach said he plans to allow the rookie to play more with veterans in order to boost LeVert’s development.
Clifford loves Adelphi
Every trip to the New York area is a sweet ride down Memory Lane for Hornets coach Steve Clifford, whose first head- coaching job was at Adelphi from 1995 to 1999. “Listen, if the money was better, I would be right there today,” said the man who led the Long Island college to four 20-win seasons and four NCAA Division II appearances and has the Hornets in first place in the NBA Southeast. “It was a great place, a great experience. We really did it with almost all New York kids. We had four great years.”