2010/11 Washington Wizards Player Evaluation: Rashard Lewis

MIAMI FL - FEBRUARY 25: Rashard Lewis #9 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on February 25 2011 in Miami Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Over the next few weeks, we will be evaluating the 2010/11 seasons of all the players who ended the year on the Wizards' roster.  We'll offer our quick thoughts, then ask you to grade their season on a 1-10 scale in the comments.  For the purposes of this exercise, we'll start with the key players and work our way down. Next in line: Rashard Lewis

 


Rashard Lewis

#9 / Forward / Washington Wizards

6-10

230

Aug 08, 1979

None




FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - Rashard Lewis 57 32.0 4.4 10.2 43.3 1.5 4.3 35.7 1.4 1.7 80.2 1.2 3.8 5.1 1.6 1.5 0.9 0.5 2.8 11.7


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - Rashard Lewis 57 32.0 4.4 10.2 43.3 1.5 4.3 35.7 1.4 1.7 80.2 1.2 3.8 5.1 1.6 1.5 0.9 0.5 2.8 11.7

 

Key advanced stat: Despite not having a rep as a good defensive player, Lewis' defensive on/off stats were impressive in a small sample. The Wizards' defensive efficiency was 5.4 points better per 100 possessions with Lewis on the floor.

It must be a very strange thing to have one's idea of value change almost overnight. In a brief span of time, Rashard Lewis went from the unorthodox wingman who allowed the Orlando Magic to topple the Cleveland Cavaliers to the player with a ridiculous enough contract for the Wizards to finally ship the toxic Gilbert Arenas out of town. Lewis, a valuable cog in a perennial playoff contender, was being tossed aside for what amounted to a roll of the dice on Orlando's part.

Neither move paid the the expected dividends for either club. Lewis brought a more professional attitude to Washington than the mercurial Arenas, but was dinged up for a majority of his tenure before being shut down during the the latter course of the year. Arenas was kept on a tight leash in Orlando by coach Stan Van Gundy and keeps alleging that his exciting scoring ability is being repressed by the strictures placed upon him. In both cases, the needle never moved in the positive direction.

The question is whether the Wizards truly benefited from the acquisition of whether is was simply a matter of shuffling deck chairs. If the question is simply one of getting Gilbert Arenas out of town, then the trade can be seen as an unqualified success. Arenas had managed to burn every bridge left in D.C. and has done little to engender any type of sympathy, due to his uneven play and his increasing lack of commitment to the cause. For a franchise that had tied its cart to John Wall, the ability to get knucklehead 1A out of town in a hurry can be seen as a net boon.

Into his place (and locker) stepped Lewis, a quiet veteran who is probably the nicest athlete to ever have been suspended for PEDS. Lewis fit into the classic mold of an Ernie Grunfeld veteran, in that he was a guy who much preferred to lead by example rather than vocally make his sentiments known. While this was a dramatic change from the outspoken Arenas, it did nothing to fill the leadership void in the locker room that was claimed by an injured Josh Howard. Eventually, Wall himself stepped up three-quarters of the way through the season and took the team by the reins.

If this is reading more as a screed about Gilbert Arenas than an article about Rashard Lewis, it is because Lewis has very little value outside of his ability to say that he got Arenas to leave the shark tank on his way out of town. A primary reason for this is that Lewis spent most of the year hurt or in a state of duress that limited his effectiveness on the court. His shot, always awkward but effective, became downright broken as he tried to fight through the various knee and leg issue that plagued him throughout the year.  The ball moved a bit better with him in the lineup and he got to his spots in a more timely manner than other Wizards, but his overall performance was reminiscent of Mike Miller, who gamely dragged his broken body around the court to prove that he still had a bit left in the tank.

With his movement so limited, it was almost impossible for him to fill the hybrid forward role that Coach Flip Saunders had penciled him in for following the trade. Instead of being the stick to drive Andray Blatche to play harder, the Wizards now found themselves with two fairly immobile frontcourt players, neither capable of making up for the others mistakes.

With Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton in the fold, it will be interesting to see how much (if any) time Lewis receives next year. I can see him evolving into an incredibly overpaid version of Robert Horry, spelling the young Turks on the team and making savvy veteran plays down the stretch. I can also see him easily becoming frustrated with life on a rebuilding team and ask to be bought out in the middle of the year.

What makes Lewis fascinating is that he is essentially a tabula rasa. He could come back next year as the Rashard Lewis of two years ago, or he could just be the guy who was needed to make the Gilbert Arenas trade. Either, I can say with some bitterness, is a better option than still having Arenas within the fold.

A LIMERICK ON RASHARD LEWIS' 2010/11 SEASON, BY JAKE WHITACRE


This is life after contention
Desperately seeking ascension
Hoping to prove
Enough for a move
Through skill or other invention

 

DISCUSSION QUESTION

Does Lewis' veteran status merit him starting at SF next year or will there be an open competition at camp?

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