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NBA

Scottie Lewis Deepdive

Exceptional defensive guard talent, with questionable potential as a floor spacer.

Intro

Scottie Lewis is a sophomore out of Florida. While Tre Mann gets all the draft buzz, and rightfully so, Lewis is a very intriguing player in this year’s draft, who is slotted between the 45th pick and not being drafted. He is a former top 10 recruit; he struggled offensively both of his years at Florida. But the defensive impact is immense for a 6-5 guard, and he is a 99.9% athlete, incredibly explosive in every direction. This year he posted a DBPM of 4.4 and an OBPM of 1.5. Here is a list of players of similar stature, drafted in either the first or second round of the draft, and who posted similar BPM numbers in their sophomore years:

The list is far from encouraging.  Hilliard ended up being a 4 year player at Virginia, and drafted by the Pistons in 2015, with the 38th pick. His 3pt shot failed to materialize in the league and after 2 years with the Pistons as well as a year with the Spurs he went over to Europe where he played for Baskonia, CSKA and Bayern, all top tier EuroLeague clubs. Tokoto was the 58th pick of the 2015 draft, after 3 years with North Carolina. He never played in the NBA, had a few stints in the G-League, but managed to carve out a good career in Australia and Israel. Pointier was a 4 year player out of St. John’s, 53rd overall pick by the Cavs. Never played in the league, but is still in the G-League.

Out of this bunch of guys I think Lewis is closest to Hilliard, for the simple fact that he shoots 3s and makes them at an ok clip so far. While Lewis’ second season really hurt his percentages, he is still a career 34% 3 point shooter and 76% FT shooter, almost identical to Hilliard. Lewis is also a vastly superior athlete and playmaker on the defensive side of the ball.

Defensive Metrics

For a 6-5 guard Lewis is posting absolutely elite, rare numbers as a sophomore with a DBPM of 4.4, DReb rate of 10, STL rate of 3.5 and block rate of 4.4. Here are players who posted similar numbers, and it’s a very short list:

Bridges and McDaniels are the only sophomores who posted these numbers, Green and Thybulle posted them as Juniors. Very optimistic list, apart from McDaniels, who has been switching between the NBA and the G-League for years, the rest of the players have been and are important role players on playoff teams. He is probably closest to Thybulle, a better rebounder, but slightly worse playmaker on defense. But his start in the league will probably be that of Green who switched between the NBA and G-League, until he found a home with the Spurs.

Will the he be able to space the floor?

His percentages really dropped in his second year. His FT percentage went from 82 to 67, his 3pt percentage went from 36 to 32. Since there’s a lot of variance between those numbers, I’ll look at his career numbers and compare them to sophomores of the past, similar height and who were drafted in the first or second round of the draft:

Malcolm Lee, former top 20 recruit, spent 3 years with UCLA, before being drafted by the Bulls with the 43rd pick in 2011. In his 3 years in the league his 3pt was 29.4%. Markel Brown was a 4 year player out of Oklahoma State, was drafted by the Timberwolves in 2014 with the 44th pick. Spend 3 years in the league, shooting 29.5% from 3. Oladipo is a former top 2 pick and all star. He shoots close to 35% from the 3 for his career.  There is optimism, but not a lot. If Scottie’s real shot is closer to his freshman year, than he might shoot like Oladipo, or even slightly better. He also took the second most 3s out of this group and had the best percentages. But it is a safe assumption that his 3 will make or break his career.

Creation for Others

At first glance his stats of a negative 0.73 assist to turnover ratio, his 10% assist percentage and usage of 18 don’t really inspire much optimism in terms of what he could bring as a creative outlet at the next level. But let’s look at some similar players at the same age.

A lot of NBA players there, who are a lot more creative in the league and produce more assist that they did in college as sophomores. Josh Richardson has been close to 3 assists per game his whole career. Lamb is worse, but still over 2 assist per 36 minutes. Brown didn’t really stick in the league. Powell, the best player of the bunch, is a career 3+ assists per 36. W

While Lewis barely created in college, he could be turned into someone who gets your 3 or more assists per game. If he finds a way to use his athleticism, like Powell did, to beat guys with his first step, or if his shot starts to fall and he can attack closeouts, finding open teammates on rotations he could be very useful and not just a stand in the corner and take a few 3s per game type of player.

Self Creation

Lewis posted bad numbers with a FTR of 44, usage of 18, OReb of 4 and 2pt percentage of  52%. Here are similar players drafted in the second round.

It is unlikely that Lewis will ever be allowed to go and get his own in the NBA. I really doubt that he, if he manages to play a lot of minutes per game in the NBA will ever average more than 10 points per game.

Summary

 Lewis is worthy of taking in the second round. Might not be a player you take at the beginning of the second round, but after the 40th pick he is a good bet. You get a player with tantalizing defensive potential. If he can shoot, and at decent volume, you are looking at a very high end 3 and D guard, who could guard 1 to 3 in the league. His ceiling strikes me as 12-3-3 rotation 3 and D guard, who is a menace on the defensive end and shoots 3s at an average or better rate. So you could get a Thybulle lite, or a more athletic Josh Richardson, with a worse handle.

If you are a team with multiple second round draft picks, like the Raptors Pistons or Hornets, why not use one on such an athletic freak with a clear developmental path in the NBA.

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