The NBA’s scheduled Orlando restart is less than a month away, so obviously, a majority of the basketball community’s attention is on that. However, the 2020 draft has still yet to take place, and the Sixers are in a financial situation where a “good draft” is pretty much a must-have this summer.
While flashy names like LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman are expected to land in the top five, there are still plenty of talented players the 76ers could end up with towards the back end of the first round. Currently projected to be selected at pick #21, the Sixers could finally solve their backup PG position, a spot that has been a revolving door as of late.
Kira Lewis Jr, Point Guard
University of Alabama
Strengths: speed, passing, overall scoring
Weaknesses: on-ball defense, strength, size
2019-20 College Stats: 18.5 PTS, 5.2 AST, 4.8 REB, 1.8 STL
Kira Lewis Jr. is one of the more fascinating players to watch on film. He is lightning quick and plays with a type of energy and motor that very few prospects possess. Despite almost transferring this past year, Lewis returned to Alabama for a monster sophomore season. Averaging close to 20 points per game, Lewis was named to the “All-SEC First-Team”, pretty much solidifying his status as a first-round talent.
Lewis excels primarily when he’s able to use his speed and explosiveness. He created 5.2 of his 18.5 points per game in transition and usually looks to drive to the basket during the half-court setting. His quick handles and borderline elite first step towards the basket allowed him to simply run past people in the NCAA.
While Lewis turned heads with his track star level movement, he still showed plenty of natural ability operating as a true point guard. He was more than capable of getting the ball to open teammates (5.2 assists per game), and was also pretty successful when it came to spacing the floor (36.6 3P%).
Lewis also shot 41.3% on open “catch and shoot” three-pointers, a number that alludes to the ability of him playing off-ball occasionally next to Ben Simmons. Lewis’ compact, fluid jumper has the makings of a legit knockdown shooter.
Lewis’ current weaknesses revolve primarily around his size. At 6’ 3”, Lewis is listed at just 165lbs. For comparison, Stephen Curry (who is considered a pretty weak defender due to his size) is listed at 6’ 3” 190lbs. Considering how physical and athletically based the NBA is these days, playing at such a small bodyweight will undoubtedly cause some problems.
Lewis was an overall pretty poor on-ball defender in college and struggled when forced to play through contact on offense. While his slender fame no doubt helps him play with such a fast tempo, the Sixers would likely ask him to put on an extra couple pounds of muscle during his rookie season.
Overall, Lewis would be a pretty logical pick for the Sixers at 21. Not only does he fill the glaring hole at the backup point guard position, but his improving jumper would allow him to play alongside Simmons at times. His size and defense is definitely a concern, but in all reality, the Sixers need an offensive spark in this year’s draft far more than they need more defenders.
NBADraft.net and tankathon.com both currently have him projected to land at pick 19, so with a little luck, he could absolutely still be on the board for Elton Brand and the Sixers when it’s their turn to draft.
Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports