Why Lewis Jr. fits identity Kings are trying to create originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
After months of uncertainty, the 2020 NBA Draft finally is here. Barring a late change, the Kings will have to wait until 11 picks go by before they are on the clock, and then they’ll have plenty of options to mull over.
Without playing a single game, prospects have moved up and down the draft board for months, including Alabama point guard Kira Lewis Jr., the player we have scheduled to go to the Kings in our final mock for the 2020 draft.
If there is one position that the Kings currently have depth at, its point guard. De’Aaron Fox is the face of the franchise and Cory Joseph is a seasoned veteran that played well when called upon last season.
General manager Monte McNair even picked up Donte DiVincenzo, a combo guard from the Bucks, in a trade that will be completed over the weekend in exchange for Bogdan Bogdanovic.
With three options already on the table, why would the Kings consider taking Lewis?
The answer is simple. Sacramento wants to run from the opening tip until the final horn. If they are going to accomplish that feat, they need a player like Lewis who is lightning quick and can really put the ball in the bucket.
Lewis played out his sophomore season at 6-foot-3, 165 pounds, which is eerily similar to the 6-foot-3, 170 pounds Fox played at during his time at Kentucky.
According to published reports, Lewis has already stacked 15 pounds of muscle onto his frame, which should help him thrive at the NBA level.
Still just 19-years-old, Lewis took major strides in his sophomore season with the Crimson Tide. He averaged 18.5 points, 5.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.
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Lewis increased his shooting numbers across the board during his two seasons in the NCAA, finishing his sophomore season shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from long range.
He attacks the rim and gets out on the break in a similar fashion to Fox. He can also break players down and draw contact. Lewis averaged 4.2 free throw attempts per game and knocked down 80.2 percent from the stripe.
Lewis is still a work in progress on the defensive end, but he boasts a 6-foot-7 wingspan and the added strength should help him fight through screens and hold his own at the NBA level.
At worst, he projects as a league average defender and there is potential for more, especially if he learns to pick up the ball in the backcourt and pressure opposing guards.
While there are plenty of small forward options and even a few guards that should be mentioned in the same conversation as Lewis, his speed and quickness separates him from the pack.
If the Kings want to get back to the team that shocked the league during the 2018-19 season, then they need someone other than Fox to push the tempo.
This isn’t a knock on Joseph. He’s a pro’s pro and a very solid NBA veteran. He’s just built more for a halfcourt game.
Sacramento could be very active on draft night and over the coming days as free agency opens. Fox is the focal point of the team, but McNair needs to build the squad around him that makes sense.
The Kings will need more shooters to space the floor, but also better athletes that can keep up with pace of their lead guard.
Adding a player like Lewis would open up plenty of options for Walton and his staff. They could shift Fox to the two for stretches and run teams off the court with a duel point set. They can hit teams with waves of speed with both the first and the second unit.
McNair has options. He can fill the void at the wing or maybe even add another big man to the mix. But if he wants to promote a specific style of play, then his coaching staff needs the right type of players to run that system. Lewis might be the missing piece to the puzzle.