Rashard Lewis: Veteran Forward Would Be Perfect Fit with Miami Heat
The Miami Heat are reportedly pursuing free-agent small forward Rashard Lewis (h/t Sam Amick, Sports Illustrated), and if the 32-year-old joins the budding evil empire in South Beach, he would fit perfectly with their current roster.
The beauty—and deadliness—of the Heat stems from their versatility. They don't have point guards or small forwards or centers—they have basketball players.
Mario Chalmers is technically a point guard, but he's comfortable off the ball as well. Dwyane Wade is technically a shooting guard, but he can cover the other team's point. Mike Miller and Shane Battier can play both forward spots. Chris Bosh has made All-Star teams as a power forward, but the Heat were dominant when he played center. And LeBron James, well, he can play any position he damn well pleases.
That's why Rashard Lewis would be the perfect acquisition for this team. Erik Spoelstra could plug him into virtually any lineup, giving the Heat even more flexibility than they currently possess.
Lewis is a smooth 6'10" forward with a very unique skill set. He can create matchup nightmares with his size and shooting ability, as he punishes smaller defenders in the post and drags shot-blockers away from the hoop.
He has posted a three-point percentage of 38 or better in eight of his 14 seasons, and his mid-range shooting numbers have always been decent, according to Hoopdata.com. He can also defend both forward spots reasonably well, and with James and Battier out there, he'll never have to cover a team's first- or second-best player.
Of course, Lewis is a shell of his former self at this point. His All-Star days are well behind him, and recent knee injuries have zapped much of his athleticism.
Still, he'll be playing in a limited role if he joins Miami, so I'm expecting him to be effective. He'll never be on the court for more than 20 or 25 minutes per game, meaning he should be fresh and healthy for the majority of the season.
Lewis isn't going to do anything too special in a Heat uniform, but then again, he doesn't have to. If he can knock down a few big shots, crash the boards and play some solid defense, he will be well worth the veteran's minimum.
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