Kira Lewis Jr’s NBA Draft Stock Looks to be Rising
Over the last couple of weeks, Kira Lewis Jr has been doing workouts and/or interviews with the New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, Charlotte Hornets, and the Miami Heat. These are an interesting group of teams as they have draft picks all over the board. This shows how varied Lewis’ draft stock is and raises questions of where he will be drafted.
Kira Lewis Jr is one of the fastest players in the draft (if not the fastest). With the pace the modern NBA plays at, he could ideally fit right in with most rosters. The question about Lewis physically is whether he is strong enough to play against pros. Lewis was last listed at 165 pounds, however some reports say that he has gained at least 10 pounds since the college season finished.
With the NBA limiting the amount of in person workouts teams are allowed, we know that players getting workouts definitely have these teams’ interests. Most of the teams on this list are looking for a point guard, which makes the interest in Lewis easy to understand.
Kira Lewis Jr averaged 18.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. He achieved this on a 45.9% field goal, 36.6% 3pt and 80.2% free throw. These are impressive stats, and if Lewis’s team had had more success in the season he may be projected higher on most mock drafts.
The big red flag in Kira Lewis’ stats are his excessive turnovers. Lewis averaged 3.5 turnovers a game this season. Point guards who play at high tempos often turn the ball over more, however at the NBA level we are going to want to see Lewis either increase the amount of assists he averages, or decrease his number of assists. With an assist to turnover ratio of only 1.49, there is definitely room for improvement here.
Teams That Have Known Interest in Kira Lewis Jr
New York Knicks
With the temporary draft rules in place due to COVID-19, NBA teams are only allowed to have 10 in-person interviews. The New York Knicks have made Kira Lewis one of their 10 players. Which begs the question, is Lewis a target for their 8th pick, their 27th pick, or are they looking to trade somewhere in between. Based on the increasing hype around Lewis I believe that the Knicks will strongly be considering Lewis at the 8th pick. However it will likely require all of their more favoured players to already be selected. If the rumours are to be believed the Knicks are looking to draft a point guard. If LaMelo Ball, Killian Hayes and Tyrese Haliburton are already taken, I would not be surprised if the Knicks drafted Kira Lewis Jr. While there is a small chance he will be available with the 27th pick, I believe that there is only a miniscule chance of this happening. If Lewis is the best point guard available I wouldn’t be surprised to see him drafted 8th overall.
We know that the Chicago Bulls have used one of their 10 workouts on Kira Lewis Jr. It’s hard to believe that with the 4th pick the Bulls would draft Lewis, but not completely out of the question. However it is more likely that the Bulls trade down if they are looking to draft Lewis. While many view Deni Avdija and Killian Hayes as the best fits for Chicago, I personally believe that Tyrese Haliburton would be the better fit. If the Bulls are convinced Kira Lewis is their guy, I believe they are best off trading down. However if the Knicks want Lewis with the 8th pick, Atlanta might be the only team they could potentially trade down to at 6. This could lead us to believe that the Knicks are creating a smokescreen by hyping Lewis up in order to get another player to fall. With the way Billy Donovan likes to play, I would not be shocked to see a lineup of Kira Lewis Jr, Coby White, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.
According to Jonathan Wasserman of BleacherReport.com, we know that Lewis has worked out for the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons have very few longterm pieces. They are likely to draft the best player available. If they believe based off of their workouts with Lewis, that he is the best player available, they should have no problem drafting him with the 7th pick. In my opinion there may be better players available. Killian Hayes is my favourite fit for the Detroit Pistons, but there is a chance he will already be drafted by the time the Pistons are ready to select their player. With the chance that Haliburton or Okongwu may be available, I don’t believe that there is a high chance that they draft Lewis. However if they are all taken, Kira Lewis Jr could be a surprisingly good fit in Detroit. Kira could learn a lot from playing behind Derrick Rose in his rookie season.
We also know from Jonathan Wasserman that Kira Lewis has worked out for the Orlando Magic. This is an interesting team to work him out. Personally I don’t see him being a good fit next to Markelle Fultz, but I would welcome being proven wrong. If the Magic are looking for a player who can be an immediate impact player off the bench, Lewis could be a good pick. Kira Lewis Jr is one of those players who could ideally fit into almost any system, and therefore I would not be surprised to see him drafted by almost any team.
Based on the current hype surrounding Lewis, I would view the Heat as Lewis’ draft night basement. I don’t see him slipping past the 20th pick. When Dragic went down with injury in the NBA finals, the lack of depth at point guard on the Heat was exposed. While Tyler Herro is a good ballhandler, he is not the quick drive-and-kick type playmaker the Heat need. If Lewis Jr is available for the Heat I believe they would have no qualms with drafting him. He could be a very good fit in the long term, and in the short term he would be a good fit also. The Heat would be ecstatic if Lewis fell to them at 20.
The last team I want to focus on is the Phoenix Suns. Kira Lewis Jr has interviewed at least twice with the Suns. Phoenix could do with an athletic point guard to bring off their bench. Based on Devin Booker’s age he is going to need a future point guard as well as a current one. Lewis could be a good backup now, while being developed into their future starting point guard. With the 10th pick there might be better fits available, but it all comes down to how much the Suns value Kira Lewis Jr.