Washington Wizards We Forgot: Rashard Lewis

Washington Wizards Rashard Lewis (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Rashard Lewis (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) /

Remember when Rashard Lewis was a member of the Washington Wizards?

The NBA season is getting closer and closer to a return with each passing day. For now, though, we still won’t see NBA action for over a month. And while the current Washington Wizards are sitting at home, we here at Wiz of Awes started thinking about some Wizards who used to take the court.

Michael Jordan isn’t the only one who’s had a short and forgettable time in D.C.

But we’re not exactly talking fan favorites. In this new series – Wizards We Forgot –  we’ll examine some notable names who you may have forgot (or wish you forgot) ever wore a Wizards jersey.

First up on our list: Forward, Rashard Lewis.

Revisiting Rashard Lewis and his time with the Washington Wizards.

This all starts with one of the greatest players in Washington Wizards franchise history – the enigma that was Gilbert Arenas. Now, Gilbert’s tenure was lightning in a bottle but his way out was rather, let’s say, bumpy.

After setting the NBA on fire, Gilbert Arenas looked like the future of the Wizards. A knee injury and a gun scandal later, the Wizards were desperate to get out from under Arenas’ contract. So he was shipped down to Orlando to play for the Magic in a straight-up deal for Rashard Lewis.

While Arenas is constantly the center of conversation for Wizards fans, the guy who he was traded for does not get discussed all that much.

The Lead-Up

Lewis made his way up to D.C. after a very solid career playing in Seattle and Orlando and made an All-Star game while a member of each of those teams.

He was a certified bucket getter and that’s usually what he was on the court to do. At 6’10, Lewis was a great shooter for his size (career 38.6% three-point shooter), embodying a stretch four before that era of basketball was really alive.

Lewis signed a gigantic six-year $118 million dollar deal in a sign-and-trade that brought him to Orlando in 2007. But just three years later, Orlando had buyers’ remorse as Lewis’ play began to regress a bit.

Looking for a spark to continue their dominance and keep Dwight Howard happy, Orlando gambled, hoping Gilbert Arenas’ huge contract would be more valuable to them than Rashard Lewis’ huge contract.

he Magic were one of the few trade partners who could actually match contracts for Arenas. If they wanted the Arenas era to be over, they didn’t have a ton of trade partners, and Orlando was the most attractive.

The Gilbert Arenas experiment in Orlando was a huge failure, however, the Rashard Lewis experiment in D.C. was not much better.

His unique skill set helped him thrive in Seattle alongside Ray Allen and helped propel the Magic to an NBA Finals appearance. However, unfortunately for both Wizards fans and Lewis, his time in D.C. was rather forgettable.

Awkward Encounters

It became very apparent very quickly that upon his arrival in D.C., Rashard Lewis was not “thrilled” to be there. In one of his first interviews with the media in DC, he did a lot of question dodging. Never a good sign.

The frustration was definitely understandable, going from a perennial Finals contender to a team in the midst of a rebuild is never easy. Especially for a guy near the end of his career.

After a rocky start, things didn’t get much better. The major issues that caused Lewis’s forgettable tenure in D.C. were both injuries and just flat our poor play on the court.

After being traded, he played 32 games for the Wizards, averaging 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds to close out the 2010-2011 season.

Those numbers are not terrible from the cheap seats, but if you remember what Wizards team this was, you’ll get the full picture.

Lewis was with the Wizards from 2010-2012 during the era of Javale McGee and Nick Young that, for the most part, was a circus outside of the budding career of John Wall. Ideally, Lewis would have been a great, veteran number two to help Wall as he developed, but that never happened.

Knee injuries hampered Lewis for the year and a half he was here, and never really recovered on the court.

Lewis returned for the 2011-2012 season where his play continued to regress. He was eventually shut down for the season in early February after playing 28 games.

He finished the season averaging 7.8 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Final Thoughts

Rashard Lewis was a good player, an all-star who could do a lot of great things on the court in his heyday. But in DC, it always seemed like he was hurt, and even the brief instances when he did play, you probably would not have noticed that he was on the court.

Even if he was healthy, we would have never seen prime Lewis. He was in the twilight of his career by the time he arrived. And it didn’t seem like Washington was where he wanted to end things. Luckily for him, he was in a much sweeter situation after D.C.

Lewis joined the Big 3 Heat for the final two seasons of his career and won a ring in 2014.

He’ll always be remembered for his unorthodox shooting motion and his success in both Seattle and Orlando. But Rashard Lewis’ time in DC was more than forgettable.