New Orleans Pelicans: End of the season review for the guards

(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans: Grading how Kira Lewis Jr. did

New Orleans Pelicans, Kira Lewis Jr.
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

What an atypical rookie season for Kira Lewis Jr.

The Alabama draftee’s entering process into the NBA was off from get-go due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To start, his actual draft was not until mid-November. Lewis then did not reap the benefits of going to the Summer League to get initiated into NBA basketball and he didn’t have a long training camp either.

Lewis started the season at the end of the bench but he gradually gained the trust of Stan Van Gundy. This was well-deserved, as the first-year guard brought tons of energy into games whenever he saw time on the floor. In due time, Lewis became one of the Pels’ two boosts off the bench alongside Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

What I liked the most about Lewis all season long was his urgency. He upped the tempo whenever he was given minutes, always putting pressure on the opponents’ rim with his explosive drives and speed with the ball.

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On top of that, he constantly made the right decisions. You could tell Lewis’ rookie status because the game moved too fast for him a lot of the time, but he was never careless with the basketball or sloppy on defense. In fact, the same injection of adrenaline that Lewis brought on the offensive side of the basketball, he also showed flashes of on the defensive end with his deflections, steals, and effort.

Despite hitting the rookie wall with a few weeks left in the regular season, the takeaway for Lewis’ first year for the New Orleans Pelicans has to be positive. He was already a real contributor straight out of college and, with a proper summer to rest and train, I am excited to see him next season.

Next, I am looking for Lewis to iron out his three-pointer and to become a more emphatic distributor. He shot a subpar 33 percent from beyond the arc on fairly low volume, but as soon as those numbers tick up, then the driving lanes should open up for him even more.

In terms of assists, Lewis wasn’t given a lot of responsibility in that department, but you barely saw him above two or three per game. I understand that his role on the team was not to be a facilitator, but the Pelicans could use another capable playmaker going forward—especially given that the likes of Lonzo Ball, Eric Bledsoe, and James Johnson all have uncertain futures.