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Steve Nash concedes Caris LeVert is definitely a starting player, but he won’t commit to whether LeVert will be starting for the Nets when he comes back.
LeVert sat out Sunday’s preseason-opening win over Washington with a left knee contusion, with Spencer Dinwiddie getting the nod and playing well alongside stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. When asked if LeVert would automatically go into the lineup when available, Nash was noncommittal.
“Still working through it. Caris is a starter. Will he start for us? I’m not sure,” Nash said. “He’s so good with the ball in his hands. There’s a case to be made that he plays that [Manu] Ginobili role, where he’s clearly a starter. Manu played in All-Star games, started on the bench, ran the second unit and closed games. We’ll see. We’ll see how it goes. It’s a great luxury to have.
“There’s a thought that he could have more reps with the ball in the hands if he captains the second unit for huge portions of the games and then plays with the starters in moments where you’re close. All that stuff is to be figured out. But great decisions for a coach to have.”
Irving — who again declined media requests — is a high usage player, and there are questions as to whether LeVert would be a fit next to him. Meanwhile, Dinwiddie acquitted himself well with 11 points, seven assists, six rebounds and was a plus-11 in a complete performance.
“For sure, I feel like I’ve always viewed myself as a starter, even when y’all were laughing at me three years ago,” Dinwiddie said. “But whatever role it takes, you always want to do whatever it takes to maximize the win and try to make the collective the best possible. A well-rounded game, whatever it was across the stat sheet, is kind of my position on this team now.”
Dinwiddie’s all-around effort left a good impression on Nash.
“Spencer’s a talented player, but he can also play the game quite simply, which is great,” Nash said. “He doesn’t over-complicate things, he can play off the ball, he can play on the ball, he can make plays for his teammates, he can guard multiple positions.
“Spencer was great out there. I thought he gave us a lift in certain moments where we needed to up the pace and force. And he has lot of versatility, he does a lot of different things for us, so he did great.”
Irving and LeVert were a minus-59 in 284 minutes together last season. Dinwiddie and Irving were plus-42 in their 305, and Dinwiddie would love to get more time in that loaded starting unit.
“Stress-free. That’s the best I can put it,” Dinwiddie said. “I’m trying to win, so if you can throw it to either one of them and get a bucket, and then you get the third defender, fourth defender trying to check you, and you’re like, ‘Alright, I guess I’ll go score now.’ Stress-free. This is fun. This is good for my health. I need this type of situation.”