Kira Lewis Jr.'s Draft Scouting Report: Pro Comparison, Updated Pelicans Roster

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2020

Alabama guard Kira Lewis Jr. plays against Vanderbilt in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Alabama won 77-62. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Kira Lewis Jr. is off the board. 

The Alabama guard was selected No. 13 overall in the first round of Wednesday's 2020 NBA draft by the New Orleans Pelicans.

Bleacher Report Draft Expert Jonathan Wasserman's Scouting Report

PlayerKira Lewis Jr.

Position: PG

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 165

Pro Comparison: Dennis Schroder

Scouting ReportThe draft's fastest guard with the ball, Kira Lewis Jr. should put pressure on NBA defenses, running down their throats in transition and breaking them down in the half court. But he also made a strong jump skill-wise with his shot-making, passing and footwork off the dribble this season. Younger than some freshmen, Lewis still has a giant window to keep improving his overall execution and decision-making. 

          

Here is what the Pelicans' depth chart looks like after selecting Lewis:

Pelicans Active Roster and Average Salary (Expiration Year)

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Kira Lewis Jr., PG: Rookie scale contract (2024)

Eric Bledsoe, PG: $17.5M (2023)

JJ Redick, SG: $13.3M (2021)

Zion Williamson, PF: $10M (2023)

George Hill, PG: $9.6M (2022)

Lonzo Ball, PG: $8.4M (2021)

Darius Miller, SF: $7.1M (2021)

Jaxson Hayes, C: $5M (2023)

Nicolo Melli, PF: $4M (2021)

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG: $3M (2023)

Josh Hart, SG: $2.1M (2021)

    

Free Agents

Derrick Favors, PF: UFA

E'Twaun Moore, SG: UFA

Brandon Ingram, SF: RFA

Jahlil Okafor, C: UFA

Frank Jackson, PG: RFA

Kenrich Williams, SF: RFA

Joshia Gray, G: RFA

Zylan Cheatham, SF: RFA

Sindarius Thornwell, SG: UFA

       

The 6'3", 165-pound Lewis averaged 18.5 points, 5.2 assists and 1.8 steals in his sophomore season, shooting 45.9 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from three. He could function as a combo guard at the next level, with the ability to facilitate at point guard or hit catch-and-shoot jumpers off the ball. 

While the 19-year-old needs to polish his game, he's an exciting prospect who showed tangible signs of improvement from his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Blink, however, and you might just miss him.

The Athletic's Sam Vecenie noted in April that Lewis "plays at tremendous speed, especially in the open court" and was one of the "fastest players in college basketball." While he was a "blur" in transition, he also showcased quality play in the half-court and is "terrific at finding open targets off the live dribble, finishing, or stopping and popping."

That combination of skills made it "really hard to find the right way to play against him." As Vecenie put it, Lewis is "young, productive, versatile, and has a lot of skills that fit into the modern NBA."

Wasserman added that Lewis features "ultra quickness off the dribble that teams can bank on for breaking down defenses" and has "flashed encouraging skill when it comes to shot-making, passing and finishing moves."

So there's more to like here than not. 

However, he isn't the perfect prospect. Both Vecenie and Wasserman noted his lack of strength, with the former adding that the "only true weakness here is his frame, which is very slight and gives evaluators plenty of pause."

Ideally, Lewis will translate as a point guard at the next level. It's easy to see him getting bullied on the defensive end as a 2-guard given his height and frame. But if he's able to polish his game as a facilitator and bulk up a bit, he could have a nice career.

There will likely be a spot for Lewis in the New Orleans rotation right away as the team looks to replace the lost production of Jrue Holiday.

If the rookie lives up to his potential, he will be a key part of a young rotation that also features Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.