Name: Kira Lewis Jr.
Measurables: 6’3″, 165 lbs
Stats last season: 31 games played, 18.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals per game; 6.6/14.5 FGs (45.9%), 1.9/4.9 3FGs (36.6%), 3.4/4.2 FTs (80.2%).
Kira Lewis Jr. is one of the quickest players in recent draft classes. This year is no exception. He’s dynamic in the open court and uses an array of finishes around the rim. Lewi’s silky-smooth game allows him to create for others off the dribble, and he pressures defense with solid shot-making from the outside. His game remains a bit raw on offense, as he tends to rush and force passes in the halfcourt. Defensively, Lewis will make an impact right away. He has tremendous quickness and lateral movement to stay in front of ball-handlers. Lewis plays the passing lanes well, and his speed allows him to get easy buckets off of turnovers in transition. My only concern with him on the defensive end moving forward is his lack of strength, which hurts him in defensive switches on the perimeter. If Lewis slows down on offense and continues to get stronger/add weight, he should be at least a backup point guard in the NBA. I see him flourishing as a 6th man for a team in need of perimeter scoring and defense.
Shot creation – Excellent change-of-pace and hesitation moves create separation off the dribble, likes the euro-step in the paint, nice floater, and touch inside. Uses dribble moves to set up long-range shots
Speed – Very quick in transition, uses speed to avoid defenders, hard to stop in space. Speed is his best attribute.
Playmaking – Great vision in the open floor, solid in the PnR and kick-out situations
Ball Handling – solid ball-handler, doesn’t try to break down defenders, quick and decisive with the ball, great change-of-pace
On-Ball Defense – Excellent on-ball defender. Fluid hips allow him to change direction and cut off ball-handlers
Strength/Weight – Very slight for his height (6’3″, 165 lbs) could get pushed around by stronger PGs in the NBA
Defensive Versatility – Due to lack in strength/weight, has no business guarding positions 2-5
Turnovers – Forces passes in the halfcourt offense, allows the defense to speed him up with the ball, leads to poor passes
Finishing Through Contact – Again a strength issue, most finishes are uncontested or made with fluid moves
Best Landing Spot
New York Knicks. If the Knicks fail to grab any of the elite point guards (ex. LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes, Cole Anthony) with their top-five pick, the team could look to pick up Lewis in the middle of the draft. With the hiring of Tom Thibodeau, the Knicks have a coach with a history of developing point guards (ex. Derrick Rose). Lewis’ place with a rebuilding Knicks roster is a seamless fit, as he would be surrounded by solid big men Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson. Randle gives Lewis a PnR partner, and Robinson would provide the young PG a terrific lob threat in the paint. In the backcourt, I really like Lewis’ skillset alongside future star R.J. Barrett. Barrett isn’t the passer that Lewis is, but he will certainly take a substantial amount of pressure off of Lewis on the offensive end. This allows Lewis to play to his strengths as a defensive-minded PG who can initiate offense in the PnR and hit the occasional outside shot.
Worst Landing Spot
Portland Trailblazers. With Lewis slotted to be picked in the middle to the late first round, a move to the Blazers would cap Lewis’ impact immediately. The Blazers have a crowded backcourt already with the likes of All-Stars Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, breakout candidate Gary Trent Jr., and reliable backup Anfernee Simons. If anything, Lewis might be sent to the G League, where he won’t have a chance to take the court until Lillard or McCollum is shipped out of Portland. I just don’t see that happening anytime soon. Lewis’ best fit is on a team that can be patient with his progression. And that’s just not the case when it comes to Portland as they are in win-now mode.
Draft Range: late lottery-mid first
Basketball IQ: 8. Offensively, Lewis tends to rush things a bit as the game speeds up, is a little out of control at times. He is an excellent cutter and relocates himself well off the ball. Nice shot IQ, doesn’t take a ton of bad shots, knows how to impact the game on both ends, even without the ball in his hands. Defensively, IQ is off the charts. Outstanding team defender too.
Shooting: 7. Lewis has a solid pull-up game, especially from distance. He shot 43.5% on spot-up threes this season and 36.6% overall from three. A nice touch in the paint, utilizes the floater quite often. Tends to shy away from contact near the rim, but should develop a nice floater in the NBA.
Passing: 8. Can improve in a halfcourt setting, a huge chunk of his assists come in the open court. Really good at attracting a second defender and making the correct kick-out pass. Hits teammates on the weak side as well as cutters after blowing by the initial defender. Good PnR potential is capable of making tough passes.
Dribbling: 7. Not an elite ball-handler, but a very good one. Great hesitation and speed with the ball. Is very simple and effective off the dribble. Hustle: 8. High motor and competitive edge on defense.
Rebounding: 6. Decent rebounder, is limited by his strength. Hustle and IQ put him in the right place more times than not when rebounding.
Defense: 8. One of the better on-ball defenders in the draft. Doesn’t gamble and has good awareness/ instincts in the passing lanes—baits opposing players into TO’s. On-ball defense is superb, great footwork, and smooth hip transitions.
Leadership: 7. Was trusted by the coaching staff in his two years at Alabama. Was the second-youngest player in the country as a freshman and started all 34 games. Led Alabama in minutes per game last season with 37 MPG.
Athleticism: 7. Not a high-flyer or very explosive, but very agile in space. One of the quickest players in the draft, great end to end speed.
Upside: 8. Is very solid in all facets of the game. If he improves his consistency and cuts down the turnovers, Lewis will be a viable option off the bench and even a quality starter.
Total Rating: 74/100
Kira Lewis Jr. Comparison
Kira Lewis Jr’s game reminds me a lot of Dennis Schroder. Both are smaller guards who have the capability of impacting the game on both ends. Like Schroder, Lewis’ best impact would be coming off the bench as a secondary ball-handler and scorer. I see a lot of similarities between the two on offense, particularly a pull-up game off the dribble and also finishing touches inside. Both utilize the floater frequently due to their lack of athleticism and hangtime in the paint. Lewis may not yet have the offensive skillset that Schroder has, but he has a ton of room to grow on that side of the ball.
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