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2022 NBA Draft Profile: Justin Lewis

Wing | 6ft 7in | 235 pounds. | Freshman (used extra year of eligibility | Age: 20

Statistics 2021-22 (32 games): 16.8 points per game | 7.9 RPG | 1.7 PNG | 1.1 ACS | 44.0 FG% | 34.9 3P% | 53.9% TS | 19.9 PER

Butler vs. Marquette

No. 10 Justin Lewis of the Marquette Golden Eagles scores a slam dunk in the second half of a game against the Butler Bulldogs.
Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

Strengths:

Length, length and again length:

Many of the Heat prospectuses I have reviewed have one thing in common: they are all plus length. But this is perhaps most evident in Lewis, who is 6ft 7in and has a wingspan of almost 7ft 3in! That’s about plus seven reach, and certainly his prospect becomes even more intriguing when determining his potential.

Excellent ricochet:

Considering his size, Lewis could be one of the best rebounding wingers in this class, picking nearly eight per game. He hit six double-doubles and was the top rebounder on a bad rebounding team, though don’t let the last moment fool you. His efforts and will to fight on glass are there. He is not a super upright athlete but will face some due to his length, strength and steady motor skills.

Bilateral versatility:

On offense, Lewis did a little bit of everything: he was used as a screener, spreader (with his vastly improved shot), post-hit threat, dunk point, etc. On defense, he could lead Shaka Smart’s pressing all over the court; it can turn on the perimeter and carries the potential for a 2 to 4 defense at the next level. He is a versatile player. And we both know a team that lacks versatile, double-sided talent.

Weaknesses/Issues:

Can his throw keep getting better?

As I spoke with Wendell Moore, one very good shooting season makes me irrationally nervous when I look at a potential client. This shows signs that the player is improving his game and I think it can’t really hurt Miami as they are at the end of the first round, but it will still make me go “Hmmm….? Lewis especially grew out of free throws and the three-point line. He shot 34.9 percent from range at a significantly higher volume than he did as a freshman when he shot 21.9 percent. He also increased his free throw percentage by nearly 20 percentage points, from 57.7 percent to 76.1 percent. This is an incredible improvement and should be taken to the next level, but it’s a question nonetheless.

General:

The current view of Lewis is that he is a late first round and early second round prospect. So I expect him to be available at number 27, except for something unexpected in the picks leading to Miami. Lewis is a modern striker who can score both inside and outside, good in defense and on the glass. If drafted at 27, he could definitely be the fourth player off the bench on a Miami Heat team that needs flank/frontcourt depth. It fits well.


Best moments/games to watch:


What others say about him:

NBA Draft Room:

Justin Lewis is a wide-bodied forward with a low center of gravity and a high level of skill. At 6-7, he fits the mold of the modern combo forward with versatility at both ends of the floor.

Lewis has a good game in the middle distance and shows promise as an underdog. He is not a high accuracy 3 point shooter, but he is developing his shooting range and should be a reliable threat to stretch the floor.

Lewis moves well for a player of his size and is a smooth athlete who obviously also has a lot of power.

He knows how to make decisions with the ball and demonstrates good intuition at both ends of the court.

Bleach Report Jonathan Wasserman:

Shooting is key for Lewis, and during practice he shot noticeably better. He also weighs in at around 235 pounds, about 10 less than his playing weight this season, which is a good indication of his ability to move lighter while defending the perimeter.

Sports Illustrated Jeremy Wu:

Lewis’s outstanding physique makes him an intriguing choice to develop: he is a good rebounder with a huge wingspan who is working on making his game more perimeter-oriented. He’s already good at throwing sets, and if he can be more comfortable playing one or two dribbles, he should be functional as a combo forward. Lewis has already lost some weight and needs to continue to work on his mobility, but if he can defend any front position in addition to well-placed space, then it will be beneficial. He’s not going to create a ton of shots for himself or teammates, but guys with his build and skill set tend to play and find minutes, especially if he’s bought into more consistent small defensive moves. There is untapped potential here if the team develops it creatively.

Athletic John Hollinger:

At times, Lewis can be frustrating: he is too cold-blooded on defense, too dependent on jumping attack. I just don’t understand how I can put it below that. He’s 6-6 with a huge 7-2 wingspan, he has a solid build that should allow him to play as a 4-man in just about any match if his team wants to downsize, and he had a 32.5-inch vertical.

Basketball things were also going well. Lewis shot decently and relatively loudly and is very comfortable dribbling against smaller defenders. He rebounds well and can be a very good defender when standing up and busy.

However, the main thing that puts him at the bottom of my ratings in the first round is that every team needs replacement forwards who can make an open throw. Lewis doesn’t even have to get much better to get into the back rotation, and he has the advantage of being a little better.

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