Age: 19 (April 6th, 2001)
Weight: 165 lbs
Wingspan: Estimated 6’6 wingspan (Was listed at 6’5 when at U-18 USA training camp)
Kira’s biggest advantage for translation to the NBA is being able to run an NBA style offense under Nate Oats at Alabama. Kira’s speed will be huge at the next level for multiple reasons. First of all his speed allows him to obviously run the break and make the defense sprint back off misses or even makes. His speed also makes him a threat to drive with his quick first step, and then that forces defenders to give him room which opens up the jump shot. The jump shot is what is going to be lethal as well for opposing defenses. His mechanics are very consistent especially for someone his age. On occasion his shot looked flat due to a variety of reasons, but for the most part, he doesn’t have any real significant issues many other prospects have with their jump shots. Kira shot 36.6% on 4.9 attempts per game, but was also a respectable 80.2% from the free throw line. The thing to also note is many of his 3s weren’t open or sometimes very deep. He would take tough 3s and was still hitting them at an average clip. As a dribbler, Kira’s biggest strength was his ability to change speeds. He also showed potential he can be the main facilitator averaging 5.2 APG. Kira made basic reads regularly and really improved from his freshman to sophomore year. He’s also a good driver for his size and can finish with both hands. Obviously he’s very thin, but isn’t afraid to attack the trees and get all the way to the rim with either hand. Kira Lewis doesn’t offer a ton defensively as his lack of size hurts. What he does offer is really good hands as a defender as he’s always looking to make a play happen and his speed also helps him cut off passing lanes quickly. He also has a decent wingspan and does a good job of staying between the ball and basket despite his physical flaws.
Kira’s biggest weaknesses are on the defensive end right now. He weighs 165 lbs. It’s going to be hard for him to put on much weight too because he’s got narrow shoulders indicating he can only grow into his frame so much. This lack of weight hurts as he gets stuck on screens very easily and switching won’t be any easier. Lewis also ball watches a lot defensively and can get beat very easily that way. On the defensive end, there’s going to be times where Kira does everything right, and players are still going to be able to score on him. As a facilitator, I like what I’ve seen mostly, but with Alabama’s spacing, Kira wasn’t asked to make high level reads. I think he potentially will be able to, but that will be a part that will take some time. As a driver, Kira shows no fear, which is good but also potentially bad. This gives concern for potential injuries, however, Kira played in 30+ collegiate games in each of his two seasons showing no sign of durability issues. As a ball-handler, he’s fairly basic. He primarily relies on speed to blow by his man, which to his credit, will probably work at the NBA level. His shot selection was not always the best, but most of that was the system as Nate Oat’s offense is designed to get shots up quick so he did take what would’ve been ill advised shots for most coaches, but did still manage to be fairly efficient to his credit.
While it looks like Kira’s weaknesses should outweigh the positives, Lewis has the qualities of a starting point guard. His quickness and jump shot will do him wonders at the next level as his jump shot only got better as the year went on. His ability to create for others will improve. Then when he’s a threat to score, making plays for others becomes that much easier. Kira is going to need to find the right situation in order for him to succeed. He needs to be in an offense that wants to play fast. Kira is fast, but is also smart using outlet passes to advance the ball up the floor quickly. Luckily for him, almost every team in the NBA wants to play that way. While he has natural gifts, Kira can be a little more of a project. It would be best if he landed in a situation where there’s little expectations for winning his first year and can still find consistent playing time. Defense is going to be a concern, but we’ve seen many below average point guards on that end of the floor still find team success. The biggest thing to look for if I’m interviewing him is if he can be a leader. Ideally, you would like your PG to be your leader, and I’m not sure if he has that quality. He’s not a bad teammate by any means, but his leadership qualities are still in question. In the right place, Kira can be a franchise player and help establish an identity for a team. Teams that should be highly considering Kira are the Pistons (7th), Suns (10th), and Magic (15th). Pistons make the most sense if Killian Hayes isn’t available as their core players are Sekou Doubouya and Luke Kennard right now. Those are both players that would benefit from playing in a fast pace system. Overall though, Kira fits the modern game too well for him not to succeed.
Article Written by Bradley Patten
Photo Credit to Alabama Athletics (https://www.si.com/college/alabama/bamacentral/kira-lewis-jr-thank-you-letter-alabama-fans)
Kira Lewis stats found on Sports Reference (https://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/players/kira-lewisjr-1.html)