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Kings are “very interested” in Kira Lewis, per report

RUMORS AND SMOKESCREEN SZN

It's been a quiet pre-draft process for the Sacramento Kings thus far. We know a few prospects spoke with the Kings when Vlade Divac was still in charge, but we haven't heard their name attached to any prospects since Monte McNair took over.

Until now.

From the New York Post's Marc Berman:

In the spring, ESPN’s draft guru Fran Fraschilla thought Lewis was a perfect Knicks fit if they traded up from No. 27 — their other first-rounder — to around No. 20. But that’s probably not going to get Lewis anymore.

In mock drafts, Lewis is pegged in the 12-17 range — probably because of his defensive shortcomings. According to a source, the Kings, at No. 12, are very interested.

Berman alone isn't necessarily a reliable read on what the Kings are going to do, but there are reasons to think this could be real. New York is home to Scott Perry, former Kings assistant GM who still has a relationship with Joe Dumars.

Another reason? The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor also had the Kings taking Lewis in his latest mock draft. From KOC:

Vlade Divac once passed on Luka Doncic, partially due to the presence of De’Aaron Fox as the team’s lead playmaker. But multi-ball-handler offenses have had a lot of recent success around the league, including in Houston where new Kings general manager Monte McNair helped assemble All-Star backcourts. There wouldn’t be a faster team in the NBA with Fox and Lewis in the backcourt.

The draft is less than three weeks away, and the rumors should pick up in the weeks to come.

The Kings Pulse podcast profiled Lewis back in May. You can listen to that episode here.

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BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago

I like Lewis. But with both he and Nesmith we’re acquiring redundant skillsets instead of complementary skillsets. Which I’m not sure I can get behind for a team with so many holes.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago

True, but given the new FO I wouldn’t be too concerned. Even if we set aside drafting BPA, we simply don’t know their vision for the roster or who they see as a building block versus who they might trade.

I’d like to think that Fox is a part of the future unless they get a grandfather offer. However, they could pretty realistically shopping players like Buddy and Barnes or planning on letting Bogi walk (assuming he gets a $10M+ offer), which suddenly makes a variety of the wings much less redundant.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I’m talking more in terms of skillsets than positions. Literally, speed and 3 pt shooting are the only two strengths this team really has. Neither of them will help with the huge holes in defending and rebounding. Lewis adds another playmaker, but even then he doesn’t really add the type of half-court facilitating we lack so clearly.

Obviously, this pick doesn’t have to solve every problem the Kings have, and if either of those are clearly the BPA then we should clearly take them, but it just seems to me that a team with such glaring weaknesses should at least try to address those weaknesses directly.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago

I just think with a new FO – I am not especially concerned about this season. I don’t think they will follow in Philly’s footsteps and try to do a variation of the “process.” However, I think they will have a vision for the type of team they want to build and what players fit that timeline / vision and who does not.

I think this draft pick will fit into the future vision. And I think it may take a year or so for them to deal away some of the current players who don’t fit that vision. And that could lead to us winning the equivalent of 25-35 games this season (depending on the season length) and then showing great improvement next year.

So personally, I am not as concerned if we pick a player who is highly redundant today and if that costs us 1-3 wins this season (not sure anyone at 12 impacts wins that much this year). I think we have to consider what the vision is and who will be here in 2-3 seasons.

Which is why I think every player and possibility is an option with a new FO, even if the fit for this season isn’t ideal.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Yeah, I can agree with that. But much of the conversation is based on the assumption that Fox is part of the long term plans. Personally, I think every knows that I’m very open to a major overhaul, and thus wouldn’t worry much about fit. But I’m trying to put myself in other people’s shoes and address points within the context of their assumptions.

eddie41
28 days ago

What if he’s the BPA, a tier above the other available guards, and would really improve the 2nd unit? If that’s what our new scouting department says, I’d be fine with Lewis.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

I’ve said that if he’s clearly the BPA and a tier above all the other options (not just the other guards), you go get him.

Bryant
Member
28 days ago

While I’d prefer a Tyrese Maxey/Fox pairing for the two-way potential, I’d easily be able to sell myself on Kira Lewis. On offense, I have no concerns – Kira has already spent two years sharing on-ball responsibilities, and he’s got a solid catch-and-shoot shot and moves without the ball very well. Defensively, having two skinny/smaller-than-optimal guards isn’t great, so the Kings would have to do some real work getting defense-first wings and forwards to surround their guard core. But I have no doubt that offensively, at least, Fox/Kira would be one of the more fun tandums to watch in the league.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago
Reply to  Bryant

Bingo – 100% agree with everything. Our fast breaks would be insanely fun to watch and nearly every possession would become a fast break (like 2 years ago I would assume). But you might want to turn away from the television on defense.

TonyXypteras
Admin
28 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

If only the Kings played fast.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago
Reply to  TonyXypteras

I’m hoping that’s the plan again. Unless the FO really goes in a different direction in the draft, I really hope there’s an understanding that a team with Fox, Bagley, Hield, and Holmes are at their best running the other team into the ground.

Though, my hope hasn’t always been well placed with this franchise.

TonyXypteras
Admin
28 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I don’t see how that can’t be the plan with this roster, but I was absolutely shocked at the step back in pace and speed they took under Luke Walton. It’s inexcusable.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

You’re absolutely right that this roster should be looking to run whenever possible. That said, I still think foot speed is highly overrated when it comes to “playing fast.” Heck, the team that scored the most fast break points in the NBA this year ran Lowry and Van Vleet in the backcourt. Most fast breaks are a result of good outlet passing rebounders, defensive playmakers, and smart, quick decision-makers. Sure, fast guys will buy you a couple easy buckets a game, but being an team that plays fast effectively is more about what you do in the secondary break and the early part of the half court offense. The Kings issue, even last year (when they still we no more than a roughly average offense) is that they either score on the fast break or end up throwing up a bad shot in the last 5 seconds of the shot clock. Personally, I’d be more focused on guys that are going to help them learn how to score more effectively in that first 3-12 seconds of the shot clock range rather than try to have your entire offense revolve around the 0-3 range.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago

Well said

RORDOG
28 days ago

That sounds a lot like Killian Hayes.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago
Reply to  RORDOG

Spooky – you posted this before the rumor broke. Has anyone ever seen RORDOG and McNair in the same room 🙂

RORDOG
28 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Me scanning twitter to get a jump on Kings draft rumors:
comment image

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  Bryant

If we were to dedicate ourselves to drafting a 6’3 guard (Anthony, Maxey, Lewis, etc.) and want them to complement Fox and the team best, then I’d say Terry is probably the right pick. Maybe even Riller.

Fox and Lewis could be exciting, I just have a tough time seeing that pairing being a foundation to the Kings being, you know, good.

Of course that’s without even discussing the wisdom of loading up on 6’3 guys like Fox and Lewis. Especially 6’3 guys without the length and/or strength to play bigger than their height.

Inthestarz
28 days ago

As someone who was huge on Trae predraft, Terry lacks athleticism for the association

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  Inthestarz

For which association? Terry is at least as athletic as Young.

That said, I haven’t really seen many real comps to Young. I’ve seen “a poor man’s Young” but that isn’t really saying much. Personally, I’d probably go with something like a bit more dynamic, more assertive peak BJ Armstrong.

Migz
28 days ago

Defensive shortcomings? We’re taking him

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago

An interesting prospect for sure. I wouldn’t be upset if we drafted him and I given we should be taking BPA, Fox’s presence shouldn’t stop us. In small ball lineups Fox can even play some SG on defense and Lewis can shoot well enough to play on or off ball.

But there’s also not a lot that stands out about him to me. He’s fast, but he’s not particularly advanced with his moves, not especially fluid inside, and doesn’t have great touch. And while pure point guards are out of vogue, he doesn’t have great vision.

Synergy seems to back these observations up as he’s a strong spot up shooter (86th percentile), but not great in P&R (62nd percentile, 65th including passes) or ISO (38th percentile).

He’s great in transition and if we want to build a team that runs and we want to prioritize speed, he has that in spades. Fox, Lewis, and Bagley / Holmes running the floor would put constant pressure on the defense.

But then we also have to play defense and that has never really been a strength of Lewis’.

So I’d sort of hope there was a player in the same tier at 12 who would be a better fit, but hard to say too much without knowing what direction McNair and company want to take this franchise.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I think Terry should absolutely be in the same tier as Lewis, Anthony, Maxey, etc.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago

What’s your take on Terry? I need to watch him play more, but have a hard time seeing him working out as well as some of the player I’m sure he wants to be compared too.

Personally though, I am not a huge fan of Maxey or Anthony either though. Or at least if we are picking at 12. Maxey in particular seems like he could be a solid player if he’s drafted by the right team to play the right role, I just don’t think I see the ceiling some other people do.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Of those guys, IMO, Terry is the most versatile scorer of the bunch. IMO he’s also shown the best passing vision, though that’s not really a strength of this bunch so it’s not the highest of bars. The big question mark is his strength and how that may limits him on both ends. He’s a smart, enthusiastic defender, but he can be targeted due to his strength.

Last edited 28 days ago by BestHyperboleEver
SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago

Good synopsis. Thank you.

TonyXypteras
Admin
28 days ago

I’ve been pretty surprised to see Terry fall in a lot of mock drafts since COVID shut everything down. He’s being projected as a 2nd round pick by a lot of folks now, and if the Kings could land him at 35 I would be absolutely thrilled.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago
Reply to  TonyXypteras

Yeah, I am not a fan of Terry at 12, but if he dropped to 35, the risk-reward seems fantastic. Even if he just becomes a situational player like a modern day Jim Les, that’s acceptable in the second round.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I’m not a fan of any of these guys at 12. But in a world where we ARE taking a 6’3 guard at 12, I’m roughly as happy with him as any of the other options. And probably happier.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
28 days ago

I’ve kind of thought of Lewis as Fox lite, so I’m not sure they could successfully share a backcourt together with neither being exceptional defenders or three point shooters. Defenses would just collapse to the paint to defend with both of them on the court. Teams would dare them to shoot and negate the speed and driving ability. Now, If he was pegged to be Fox’s backup, then sure.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Lewis has become a pretty good catch and shoot player and better off the dribble. Not to be overly reliant on Synergy data, but he was 88th percentile in catch and shoot and 79th in shooting off the dribble.

While we should take BPA, I agree, it would seem to be odd to use the #12 pick on a backup to our 35-37mpg star player. I think if you draft him, you’d have to expect that we are either planning to trade Fox or think we could play them together.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
28 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

I’d lean toward trading Fox if they in fact that enamored with Lewis at #12. My gut just feels they can’t/shouldn’t play together in the backcourt, especially if Buddy and/or Bogi are still on the Kings. I feel Fox and Lewis are a bit redundant.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

I imagine that the roster will be reshaped a lot over the next 1.5 years.

I tend to agree and struggle to see Fox and Lewis really working long term. But who knows, could be a Bibby-Bobby Jackson like situation. Lewis could play 13 PG minutes when Fox is off the floor and share the court for 13-20 minutes depending on the opponent.

But if they were going to keep them both, I’d agree it means that some combo of Buddy and Bogi will not be retained. That would be a lot of assets invested into 4 players who can realistically only play 2 positions.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Ultimately, yes. I would think a path that includes Lewis being a good NBA player would also include ultimately trading one of them. That doesn’t HAVE to be this offseason of course. It’s a process.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

I think you could see him as Fox lite or Fox plus, depending on how much you value shooting.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
28 days ago

If he is Fox plus, then trade Fox. Call up the Knicks about the #8 and their 2021 first.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

It’s all about what you value. With Fox you get more vertical explosiveness and better high level penetration because of his excellent handle. Fox is also a bit better decision maker. With Lewis you get more shooting.

Of course, with Fox you have the advantage of 3 years of seeing how and if he can be successful at the NBA level. With a new draftee there’s always more risk.

Wonderchild
28 days ago

If I’m McNair, I’m taking Fox’s explosiveness and hoping he shores up his weaknesses (shooting, defensive awareness, half court playmaking).

Otis
28 days ago
Reply to  Wonderchild

Agree. Even if the possibility of him being elite is far-fetched, he could still be a very good NBA player. We need to start with one of those and work forward.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  Wonderchild

I think that’s fair. It means making team fit a little more difficult, but probably a higher upside if you can make it fit. Of course, there’s also the question of team control/cost to consider.

Wonderchild
28 days ago

Of course. That’s where the terrible fit with Bagley comes into play IMO.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  Wonderchild

Yeah, a painful side element to the Bagley miss was that he was neither the BPA nor the best fit. Now, our theoretical tent poles are both players that need spacing but can’t help provide it for each other.

RAP87
28 days ago

Was there a rumor that NY is also interested in Kira Lewis? Could be a smokescreen coming from the Kings for a potential swap with NY. Buddy, 12th and a future 2nd for Randle + 8th?

Last edited 28 days ago by RAP87
SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago
Reply to  RAP87

That seems like a lot for us to move up 4 spots. However, I’d certainly be more intrigued by the prospects available at 8.

Feels like at 12, we could have a lot of prospects I prefer drafted in the top 11.

RAP87
28 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

If it gets us Haliburton I might be okay with moving up to 8th. If Haliburton is off the board then yeah I might just stay put at 12.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
28 days ago
Reply to  RAP87

If Halliburton is still there at #8, the Knicks would be wise to just pick him themselves. He and Barrett could be a nice backcourt going forward.

RAP87
28 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Depends on how their F.O views Haliburton and Lewis. If they think somehow they’re on par or doesn’t have that much of a gap skill wise then why not trade down and get Lewis while also getting a shooter in return in Buddy. Also they get rid of Randle’s contract.

Again it depends on the F.O or it could all just be a smokescreen coz you know, its draft season.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  RAP87

They’re such different players, it’s hard to see a FO having them on the same level.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago
Reply to  RAP87

Hali would be my dream. Even if he is off the board, it should push down some combination of higher potential prospects like Okoro, Okongwu, or Hayes.

And worst case, I’d almost rather have the FO have their pick of the wings who might be available at 12. It’s easy for us to say they are all the same tier, but there is a real chance that the Spurs or Suns could take the player the FO prefers right in front of us, whether that is Vassell, Williams, or Nesmith.

That said, all depends on cost.

andy_sims
28 days ago

Lewis & Fox would definitely make Kings games into track meets. I’d have concerns about him being so lightweight, especially on the defensive end, but Foxian speed is very tempting. If the Kings trade down, it wouldn’t be hard to justify the pick.

Omr_14
28 days ago

At this point, just get someone who won’t be out of the league in 3 years.

Otis
28 days ago

I’m really interested in how confident people who really follow college hoops (Bryant, BHE, SPTS, etc.) are about their player evaluations right now – with such a gap in actual on-court competition to look at for these young players?

Feels like it will be even more of a crapshoot this season, since there’s less information to work from.

Last edited 28 days ago by Otis
BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  Otis

I’m never confident about any of my evaluations. And you shouldn’t be (confident about my evaluations) either.

Otis
28 days ago

I guess I’m just speaking relative to the usual. Have any of these guys been playing organized basketball outside Ball (he was playing some international ball I think)?

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  Otis

They played most of the last college season. So we have a good amount of data. Personally, I don’t put a ton of stock in tourney performances. I think the big question isn’t really assessing who they were at the end of the season, but rather what they’ve been able to work on and improve in, theoretically, an extra 5 months in the gym. For example, reports are that Tyrell Terry, who’s biggest strike against is his size, has added an inch of height and 15 lbs of muscle in the extra time. Which would make him roughly the same size as Lewis and Fox as a draftee.

Otis
28 days ago

Ah, thanks. I’m screwing up on the timing.

BestHyperboleEver
28 days ago
Reply to  Otis

It’s really, potentially, the 2021 draftees that we won’t have much data on depending on how and when the NCAA season starts up.

Otis
28 days ago

Right, makes sense. I need to remember that we haven’t been in quarantine for two years, it just feels that way.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago
Reply to  Otis

No kidding. Periodically we’ll be discussing something that happened and I will start thinking about it like it was 3-4 years ago and then I realize it was in February. Like we went to Disneyland right before everything got bad and it genuinely feels like the trip was in 2017.

SPTSJUNKIE
28 days ago
Reply to  Otis

No, I agree this year’s draft in particular is even more of a crap shoot than usual.

I think most evaluations are about understanding what is knowable and unknowable about certain prospects and trying to make a best guess or at least lay out what are the “swing skills” (as Bryant would say) or biggest questions marks a prospect faces, but I don’t think there’s a high degree of confidence in knowing how good they will be.

Even in a normal draft, pretending you have a very high degree of confidence in how a 19 year old will develop when personalities change and we only have second hand statements to tell us about a person’s work ethic or passion is hard (and partially why I like highly skilled prospects, because you typically have to be hard working and passionate to develop those skills).

Bryant and I have also side-barred on Twitter, so I know that we have relatively similar thoughts on Nesmith for example, though we debate if he’s worth the #12 pick. But I don’t think either of us pretends to know definitively how good of a pro Nesmith will be – we wouldn’t normally and he only played on conference game against Auburn. And certainly most of us are not medical professionals who know how a fractured foot will heal – though I at least assume our team physicians can give an accurate read and he won’t be considered if they say his foot is unlikely to ever fully heal.

But it’s not that hard to watch hours of film and look at enough data to understand he’s an elite college movement shooter who should at least become a good shooter in the NBA, but who will have to improve his ball handling and defense, where he tries hard but struggled at times. And at least early in his career, he’s a guy I think you’d want shooting off a screen and wouldn’t want to make a primary or even secondary ball handler.

Now whether he can improve, is likely to improve, or how good/great his shot will be in the NBA is a bigger question. I’m not confident in that and that’s ultimately a decision a NBA FO has to make. And that’s part of why we often debate if we think the risk-reward is good at a certain pick, because these are all our best guess at probabilities and none of us know definitively.

And while I am not a fan of hot takes or pretending to be 100% certain about anything (or insulting others with differing views), I also believe in taking a perspective and if you are wrong then trying to learn from your mistakes. I am less of a fan of speaking in such vague and general statements that it’s hard to learn from where you were right or wrong.

It’s a little bit of my consultant mindset of “strong opinions, lightly held” and having a hypothesis, but updating both the specific hypothesis as well as larger mindset and decision frameworks as you learn more.

Otis
28 days ago
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Thanks much, and well stated:

And while I am not a fan of hot takes or pretending to be 100% certain about anything (or insulting others with differing views), I also believe in taking a perspective and if you are wrong then trying to learn from your mistakes. I am less of a fan of speaking in such vague and general statements that it’s hard to learn from where you were right or wrong.

It’s a little bit of my consultant mindset of “strong opinions, lightly held” and having a hypothesis, but updating both the specific hypothesis as well as larger mindset and decision frameworks as you learn more.

Inthestarz
28 days ago

I think his game offers more all around impact and upside than Nesmith, so Id be more forgiving of this redundancy, and Id hope Fox/Lewis could play together

wilbur10
28 days ago

I dream of a Lewis and Fox pairing. If Gentry can convince Walton to start running, a team with Fox, Lewis, and Holmes in transition would be extremely fun to watch. Add a wing like Jerami Grant to that group and I’m not sure how you stop them in transition.

Inthestarz
28 days ago

I said from the outset that Lewis is one of my few favorite prospects in our region

He has one of the highest ceilings and overall game, even as Im a bit reticent over motor

Fox doesnt mean you dont pick BPA and hopefully they can play together

I dont know how yall can watch Bogi/Barnes/Buddy and want more back half of the lottery ‘solid’ wings given their impacts/salary (Nesmith and Bey Im looking at you) when their is upside and more prominent effects on game on the board. Not referring to Maxey

RORDOG
28 days ago
Reply to  Inthestarz

How do the current wings on the roster have anything to do with the wings available in the draft?

Inthestarz
28 days ago
Reply to  RORDOG

They are give and take the same talent level/position of player, obviously. That can be extrapolated to possibly give the same results. There is higher overall upside, and possibly more prominent positions to fill

Are you still groaning folks you disagree with personally?

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