Caris LeVert thinks he can replace Ricky Rubio as Cavs backup point guard with veteran out

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Caris LeVert thinks that he can take Ricky Rubio’s spot as the team’s backup point guard while the veteran is out of action.

LeVert has spent two seasons as a member of the Cavaliers franchise and signed a two-year, $32 million extension with the team in the offseason.

The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 12.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game in 74 appearances with the Cavaliers during the 2022-23 regular season (30 starts). LeVert also knocked down an impressive 39.2 percent of his 3-point attempts.

In the Cavaliers’ 2023 first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks, he averaged 15.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. The Knicks made quick work of the Cavaliers, however, seeing as how they eliminated them in five games.

The 29-year-old played for two other teams — the Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers — before joining the Cavaliers. The Pacers received Rubio, a first-round pick and two second-round picks in the deal that sent LeVert and a second-round pick to the Cavaliers back in February of 2022. Rubio rejoined the Cavs in the 2022 offseason.

Rubio was chosen with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. He has played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns during his 12 seasons in the NBA. While he has carved out a long NBA career, he hasn’t lived up to the expectations that often come with being a top-five NBA draft pick.

The point guard holds career averages of 10.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game on 38.8 percent shooting from the field and 32.4 percent from behind the 3-point arc.

A knee injury limited Rubio to 33 appearances with the Cavaliers during the 2022-23 regular season, and he averaged 5.2 points, 2.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 17.2 minutes per game.

LeVert seemingly does have a chance of taking Rubio’s spot as the team’s backup floor general, considering the latter is away from the Cavaliers right now and focusing on his mental health.

LeVert has the playmaking chops to serve as a productive backup point guard, as he dished out 3.9 assists per game a season ago and 4.3 assists per game the season before that one.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.