Title: Small Raptors lineup effective in Game 2; Is there utility vs. Bucks or Celtics?
Date: August 20, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors closing Game 2 against the Nets out small and whether that wrinkle might be useful in later rounds.
Caris LeVert was exactly where he loves to be.
Even guarded by the Raptors’ best defender, OG Anunoby, LeVert used a pair of Jarrett Allen screens to snake his way into the paint. Pascal Siakam was dropped back to protect against the drive, which is not a major issue for LeVert in these situations. Anunoby is one of the better rear-view shot-contest artists in the league, an advantage that was minimized by LeVert being one of its funkiest attackers. LeVert was in his comfort zone, a step beneath the free throw line with one defender in no man’s land between him and Allen, his lob threat, with the other trailing behind.
LeVert’s work in this floater range has been a major part of his ascension as a top scoring option for the short-handed Nets. He gets to the rim at an above-average rate, he’s just not a great finisher there yet. Instead, LeVert often prefers to change his tempo or direction, confuse a defender and clear space for a short mid-range attempt. He’s unconventional and unpredictable, making him a tough check.