With Milwaukee Bucks basketball on pause, we’re all a little basketball-starved. So, with Milwaukee currently holding the Indiana Pacers first round pick, we’ll try and give you a fix by breaking down some draft prospects they could consider this year.
Kira Lewis Jr.
Weight: 165 pounds
The dude is a blur on the basketball court and can straight fly; there’s no doubt about it. He also does a tremendous job changing speeds and keeping defenders off balance when he has the ball in his hands. While his speed is his greatest strength, it can also get him into a bunch of trouble. He sometimes appears to be moving too fast, even for himself, and that leads to negative plays for him and his team. If he sees an open teammate, he’s shown the ability to hit them with precision; the “if” is the biggest question mark. He’s not a true point guard in the classic definition of the term, but lacks strength and size to play or defend any other position. He’s shown great anticipation on defense and excels at jumping pass lanes and taking the ball the other way for easy buckets. His shot selection leaves a lot to be desired, but there’s no doubt he loves the rock in his hands; especially down the stretch of big games.
Speed: His speed immediately jumps off the tape and makes you double-check to see if he’s playing against legit competition, but he’s just that fast. He can blow by defenders and hunts switches in the pick-and-roll. His speed screams at you in the open court where he simply runs past everyone; with or without the ball. At just 165 pounds, he relies on this speed to survive and will need it more than ever until he puts on some muscle in the NBA.
Quick First Step: Not only does Lewis go faster than just about everyone else, but he gets to that top speed more quickly as well. Whether it be off the bounce or the triple threat, he immediately gains an advantage with that quick-ass first step. This allows him to get his defenders on his back hip and pressures the rest of the defense to step up and contain the drive.
Passing: Lewis doesn’t always pass the ball, but when he does, he’s pretty good at it. His vision to find an open teammate is certainly not a strength, as he often gets tunnel vision and narrows in on his own shot or sees his teammate a beat too late. However, when he does see the open man on time, he flashed the ability to hit them with different types of looks (lobs, bounce pass, dropping it to a big man or whipping it to an open shooter on the perimeter).
Anticipation: Given his position as a point, he does most of his defensive work on the ball where he’s adequate. When he’s off ball, however, is where he’s most dangerous. He reminds me of a more explosive Donte DiVincenzo when it comes to jumping the passing lanes and taking the ball for a pick-six. He has great anticipation and uses his speed to pounce on telegraphed passes.
Out of Control: A lot of his weaknesses are directly related to his greatest strength; speed. Lewis is sometimes out of control when attacking the paint, leading to a surprising amount of offensive charges for a guy who is only 165 pounds. There are too many times he attacks without a plan and it leads to negative outcomes (lazy passes that are intercepted, bad shots, etc).
Decision Making/Shot Selection: Speaking of bad shots, Lewis has a propensity for taking shots that make you scream, “no!” before it’s even left his hand. Given his aggressive and attacking nature, he’ll often press early in the shot clock and settle for highly-contested floaters or pull-ups that have very little chance of finding the bottom of the net. As for his mid-range game, he often seems reluctant to take those pull-up jumpers, instead, electing to drive deep into the heart of the defense and challenge shot-blockers in their natural element in the paint.
- He needs to work on his left hand, as he appears to heavily favor his right around the rim.
- He has a dangerous hesi that maximizes his speed and quick first step.
- Was very good as the pick-and-roll ball-handler at Alabama, something he ran on 30 percent of his possessions according to Synergy.
- Adding strength, any strength, should help him improve in a number of areas.
- Despite standing 6’3”, he had a below average wingspan of 6’5.5” at the Nike Elite 100 in 2017.
The Bucks hold the Indiana Pacers pick, which is currently projected to be 19th overall depending on what happens with the rest of the NBA season, and Lewis is the 25th overall prospect in ESPN’s latest rankings so he might be too much of a reach for Milwaukee.
Regardless, point might be the Bucks’ biggest need in coming seasons. Eric Bledsoe is 30-years-old and is basically only under contract for two more years (he has a partial guarantee of only $3.9 million in 2022-23), George Hill will be 34 in May and Donte DiVincenzo projects more as a combo guard than a true primary ball-handler.
Lewis, who will turn 19 in May, needs some time to refine his game and improve his decision making. And, who knows, maybe having more talent around him than the 16-14 Alabama Crimson Tide provided will show he’s more unselfish than we initially thought. He would also have the opportunity to learn from someone like Hill who has already shown the propensity to take younger players under his wing (hello, DiVincenzo).
He has the speed to attack the rim and take advantage of the bigger NBA courts. After Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bledsoe, Milwaukee lacks anybody who can consistently get to the basket like Lewis potentially could. Lewis’ ability to get into the paint should be able to open up opportunities for shooters on the perimeter as well, granted he can improve his passing vision and anticipation.
Lewis is certainly a risky prospect, and needs to work on improving his shot, adding strength and being more patient with the game. At the other end of the spectrum, he has a drive and passion for basketball that you love to see and he could be a draft-and-develop prospect for the win-now Bucks.
Please share your feedback in the comments as far as what you enjoyed and what you’d like to see differently in future scouting reports. I appreciate you!