Wolverines In The NBA: Red-Hot Caris LeVert Punches Indiana's Ticket
The Indiana Pacers have secured the last spot (ninth in the standings) in the Eastern Conference's play-in tournament for a postseason berth, and they have former Michigan star Caris LeVert to thank, in a lot of ways.
LeVert was traded to the club in January, and during that process, a cancerous mass was found on his kidney, forcing him to miss over two months of game time. But his surgery and subsequent recovery went well, allowing to bet back on the court. He's helped the Pacers out immensely, and is second on the team in scoring (20.8 points per game) since joining his new team.
Then, on Tuesday night, it was LeVert, who has scored 20 or more points in eight of his last nine outings, including four 30-plus-point performances, punching Indiana's ticket into the aforementioned three-team play-in tournament. With under a minute to go, the shot clock winding down and his team holding a four-point lead, LeVert nailed a step-back triple to take a seven-point edge and clinch the win.
With the Brooklyn Nets beating the Chicago Bulls just a few minutes later in the night, that gave Indiana the No. 9 spot and a chance at the playoffs.
The NBA play-in tournament begins May 18 and concludes May 21, with the playoffs set to begin May 21.
LeVert missed Thursday night's game with a bruised right knee, but is reportedly not a serious injury.
Below is a complete update on every former Michigan Wolverine currently in the NBA.
Ignas Brazdeikis, Orlando Magic
Notched eight points, seven rebounds and three assists in a loss to the Charlotte Hornets May 7 ... Posted 16 points, six rebounds and three assists in a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves May 9 ... Registered five points, three rebounds and one assist in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks May 11 ... Put up nine points, four rebounds, two assists and one block May 13.
Signed to a 10-day deal with the Orlando Magic May 2, and was later signed for the rest of the season ... Is averaging 28 minutes, 9.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in six contests with the Magic ... Started the campaign with the New York Knicks but spent most of his time in the G-League, before being dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers ahead of the trade deadline ... He was waived after appearing in one contest with the club ... The Magic are 21-49 on the season and vying for one of the top picks in this summer's draft.
Trey Burke, Dallas Mavericks
Scored eight points and added two rebounds and one assist in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers May 7 ... Posted seven points, one rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal in a second-straight win over the Cavs May 9 ... Registered seven points and one assist in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies May 11 ... Was held scoreless in nine minutes in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans May 12.
Has appeared off the bench in 60 of the Mavericks' 70 games this season with one start, and is averaging 14.8 minutes per outing ... Posting 6.7 points and 1.3 assists per night, while shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from three-point land ... The Mavericks sit at fifth in the Western Conference with a 41-29 record.
Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks
Scored 19 or more points in each of his last six contests ... Posted 23 points, six rebounds and two assists in a win over the Brooklyn Nets May 6 ... Had 20 points, two rebounds and two assists in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers May 7 ... Followed that up with a 25-point, two-rebound and three-assist performance in another win over the Cavs ... Recorded 19 points, five rebounds and two assists in a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies May 11 ... Exploded for 27 points, four rebounds and two assists in a win over the New Orleans Pelicans May 12.
Has seen action in 68 of the team's 70 contests with 29 starts ... Is averaging 16.8 points per game on 44.9 percent shooting from the field and 39.4 percent from long range, while also contributing 3.4 boards and 1.7 assists per tilt.
Caris LeVert, Indiana Pacers
Missed Thursday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks with a knee injury Has scored 20 or more points in each of his last four outings, including two games of 31 points or more ... Posted 31 points, 12 assists and three rebounds in a win over the Atlanta Hawks May 6 ... Recorded 35 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in a loss to the Washington Wizards May 8 ... Posted 20 points, 10 assists and three rebounds in a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers May 10 ... Registered 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers May 11.
Averaging 20.8 points (second on team), 4.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game in 33 outings (all starts) with the Indiana Pacers, after returning from having surgery on his kidney (was previously with the Brooklyn Nets) ... Shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 32.1 percent from long range in those games ... The Pacers are ninth in the East with a 33-37 record and are in the league's play-in tournament with a shot at the playoffs.
Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors
Registered 14 points, four rebounds and three assists in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder May 6 ... Posted 16 points (4-8 3PT), two rebounds and one assist in another win over the Thunder May 8 ... Dropped 20 points and added one rebound in a win over the Utah Jazz May 10 ... Scored 20 points and contributed four rebounds in a win over the Phoenix Suns May 11.
Has appeared in 49 of the Warriors' 70 games this season with six starts, after having a stint in the G-League ... In the NBA, he's averaging 11.4 points, 1.9 assists and 1.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from beyond the arc ... The Warriors are eighth in the Western Conference with a 37-33 mark and are set to participate in the play-in tournament for a spot in the playoffs.
Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat
Scored six points and added three assists and two rebounds per game in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves May 7 ... Dropped 22 points (6-10 3PT) and contributed three rebounds and one assist in a win over the Boston Celtics May 9 ... Scored another 22 (5-9 3PT) and added two rebounds and three assists in a win over the Celtics May 11 ... Put up three points, four rebounds, one assist, two blocks and two steals in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers May 13.
Has started all 70 games for the Miami Heat ... Averaging 13.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game, while shooting 43.9 percent overall and 40.7 percent from long range ... His 3.5 made threes per game rank fifth in the association ... The Heat are 39-31 on the season and sit at fifth in the Eastern Conference standings.
Moe Wagner, Orlando Magic
Posted six points, three rebounds and three assists in a loss to the Charlotte Hornets May 7 ... Notched 11 points, five rebounds and one block in a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves May 9 ... Had 17 points and 13 rebounds in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks May 11 ... Registered four points, four rebounds and two assists in a loss to the Atlanta Hawks May 13.
Signed with the Magic — his fifth NBA franchise in three seasons in the league — for the rest of the season after recently being waived by the Boston Celtics ... Has started eight of his nine games with his new club, and is averaging 11 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest in those ... Started the season with the Washington Wizards.
D.J. Wilson, Houston Rockets
Currently out due to COVID-19 protocols.
Was traded from the Milwaukee Bucks at the trade deadline ... Played just 12 games with the Bucks but has seen action in 23 games now for the Rockets, averaging 6.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game with his new club ... The Rockets are 16-54 — the worst record in the league — and sit at 15th (last place) in the West.
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