The Wiz of Awes Player Profiles keep steaming along, and next up is Rashard Lewis.
I’m sure most have forgotten that Rashard Lewis is still on the Wizards roster right now, and there are others wondering why we give him the time of day. Both sentiments are legitimate, but we can’t leave anyone out in our Player Profiles. It’s in the rules, probably.
Anyway, here’s James Straton, Christopher Cook, and Tommy Glasgow with the breakdown…
It’s difficult to even think about Rashard Lewis’ season considering he was paid almost $29,000 per minute played. There’s nothing to say about Rashard’s time on the court aside from the fact that he had some time on the court. He just so happened to exist this season and if he didn’t, nothing would have been different. Once his 2012 season highlight mixtape is on YouTube (surprisingly, it isn’t up yet), it will consist only of shots of him celebrating after beating the Thunder mashed up with his awesome commercial with about Nike Hyperizers that transcends years and should be used in all Rashard mixtapes.
Let’s put his season in perspective a little bit. The following table shows how much worse this season was than any other he has had. It shows his production this year in row 2, and ranks it against his previous yearly numbers (excluding his rookie year, when he played only 7.3 mpg) from best (1) to worst (13) in row 3.
By statistical representation, Rashard Lewis was having the worst year of his career when a seemingly mysterious knee injury forced his last game to be on February 22. With that in mind, we have to consider Lewis’ season for what it was. He was a cap space hog who came off the books one year earlier than Gilbert Arenas. He allowed the Wizards to be invisible in free agency because he took up almost half of the amount teams are required to spend on player salaries. Don’t overlook the importance of keeping the Wiz out of the free agency period that saw DeAndre Jordan and Arron Afflalo each get $43 million.
As a basketball player, Rashard Lewis gets a resounding F. As a piece of a rebuild, Lewis gets a solid B+, only because he has a favorable buyout number ($10M-$13M, depending where you look) and an expiring contract. He would get an A+ as a cog in the rebuild, but that $23M will be awfully difficult to swap for a good player.
I would seriously consider Rashard Lewis as big or an even bigger disappointment than Andray Blatche this season.
If you consider that the Wizards paid Blatche about $6.5 million for his services this year and Lewis $21 million, he could be considered the biggest disappointment in the NBA this year. Lewis’ last game was on February 22 before missing the rest of the season with knee issues. Lewis is getting old, I understand that. He is 32 years old with 14 years of NBA experience, but he gave the Wizards one good game this year, against is former team in Orlando. He dropped 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting, but the Wizards still lost.
For the first time since his rookie season, Lewis shot under 40% from the field and under 30% from three-point range. The same player that is eighth all time in made three-pointers, made just 16 this season. Even though he played fewer games and minutes, Chauncey Billups made 48 three-pointers. Billups is also three years older than Lewis. The only thing I can hope for from Rashard Lewis is that his contract, which expires after next season, may draw some sort of trade interest. If not, the Wizards still have the option of buying him out, even though the number could be higher than originally expected. Rashard has given me no option but to give him the lowest grade possible.
By writing this post, I put fourth more effort in researching Rashard’s season than he did while playing during it. Rashard’s production this season wouldn’t justify a fifth of the money that he received. The only incentive is that the length of his contract isn’t as long as Gilbert Arenas’ was, which is who the Wizards sent to Orlando to get Rashard. I don’t think that Rashard or Blatche are bad locker room guys or bad people, they just don’t give fans the effort that we expect to see. With Rashard, a little drop-off is expected as he nears the end of a long, fairly productive career. With Blatche it’s a different story.
The best thing Rashard Lewis ever did for the Washington Wizards was rid the organization of Gilbert Arenas (and his contract) and thus help pave the way for the John Wall Era in D.C. The second best thing Rashard Lewis ever did for the Washington Wizards was leave the organization via amnesty, trade or buyout. His departure allowed Ernie Grunfeld and Ted Leonsis to work with the cap flexibility they had long desired. The Wizards then signed a productive free agent to go along with their prized draft pick and the future looked bright in the nation’s capital. Oh… that hasn’t happened yet?
On the court this season, ‘Shard contributed little to the team’s limited success. Lewis looked like a less-talented basketball impersonator of the two-time NBA All-Star who was a key cog on Orlando’s NBA Finals team just a few years back. One could even go as far as to say all the talent had been sucked out of him, Space Jam style. He couldn’t keep up with John Wall on the break and when he did get the ball for an open shot, Rashard all too frequently came up short. The biggest strength in Lewis’ game is his technically superb three-point shot. Even that let him down this year as his shooting percentage from deep crashed from his career average of 38% to an abysmal 24%. Starting the first 15 games of the season, it didn’t take him long to lose his position to rookie Chris Singleton. Just a few games later, chronically maligned knees took Rashard Lewis out for the remainder of the year.
The new CBA agreement makes it easier for the Wizards to replace Rashard with younger, cheaper and/or more talented players. The amnesty clause is the most obvious choice to the casual NBA fan, but let us not forget that there is another underachieving forward on the roster who may require that move. Then there’s the possibility of a trade. If a team is looking to clear cap space for the much-anticipated 2013 free agency class, they might swallow hard and take on Rashard Lewis. But the most likely outcome is that Ernie pays the man his $13.7 million dollar buyout and both parties move on with their lives.
More than as a complimentary player, this is a veteran who was brought in for his contract. That’s just about all ‘Shard contributed this year. He avoids a failing mark for the season because he signed an autograph for me in February.
Lewis gets a “D”