The New Orleans Pelicans will have a very different roster heading into next season but they will also be counting on internal improvement from the guys who are returning, including Kira Lewis Jr.
Lewis Jr. was solid in his rookie season even though he had the disadvantage of a shortened offseason and no real Summer League or training camp.
He struggled shooting the ball but played decent on-the-ball defense and his speed is clearly a difference maker in the open court.
So what can we expect from Kira Lewis Jr. in year two? I think the best and worst-case scenarios could swing wildly.
New Orleans Pelicans: Best-case scenario for Kira Lewis Jr.
I don’t think it is realistic to believe Kira Lewis Jr. is going to become a star overnight, but he can be an impact player with the Pelicans.
For me, the best-case scenario is that Lewis Jr. builds on what he did well last season (taking care of the ball) and seizes the the backup point guard spot, turning the bench into a weapon in the process.
I don’t think he’s suddenly going to become a scorer but if defends well, pushes the pace and adds a floater to his game to get around 10 points per game, I think his season will be a success.
Best-case scenario stats: 11 ppg. 5.5 assists, 1.5 steals in 25 minutes per game
Worst-case scenario for Kira Lewis Jr.
I think there are definitely scenarios where Kira Lewis Jr. ends up in the G-League at some point this season.
The worst-case scenario is that he gets outplayed by all of the other guards and ends up buried on the depth chart behind journeyman veterans Tomas Satoransky and Garrett Temple.
David Griffin is going to make sure that Lewis Jr. gets every chance to play, but ultimately Willie Green is going to try and win games and if Lewis Jr. isn’t cutting it, he’ll lean on the veterans, especially early.
The Pelicans have a lot of potential lineups and depth at guard, so this one is a distinct possibility, though one that would be disappointing to fans who were never sold on Lewis Jr. as the pick to begin with.
Kira Lewis Jr’s best-case scenario is that he is an impact bench player who leads the 2nd unit, but the worst is that he is in the G-League and a guy people are starting to call a bust.