Who is he?
A two time NBA All Star and unique 3-point specialist, Rashard Lewis followed the likes of several players such as Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant, skipping college and entering the NBA after graduating from Alief Elsik HIgh School in Houston, Texas. Lewis was drafted in the second round (32nd) of the 1998 NBA draft by the Seattle Supersonics, where he played 9 seasons with current teammate and future hall of famer Ray Allen. Lewis would then sign with the Orlando Magic in 2007, playing there for a span of 4 years including a trip the 2009 NBA finals where they fell short to the Los Angeles Lakers. After an injury plagued, brief stint with the Washington Wizards from 2010 to 2011, Rashard Lewis found himself traded to the New Orleans Hornets in 2012, but only to have his contract bought out just 10 days later. Despite being shuffled around a handful of teams and sidelined with injuries in the past, Rashard Lewis assured the media this weekend that he is extremely motivated, prepared and eager to begin training camp for the Miami Heat.
What will his role be?
Rashard Lewis informed the media that he's looking to come off the bench but the fact is, Miami's frontcourt is open for grabs. Standing at 6 feet, 10 inches, roughly 220 lbs and with elite perimeter shooting ability, Lewis possesses the kind of dexterity that can expand the Heat's spacing even further. His height and overall wingspan gives Erik Spoelstra even more room for lineup experimentation and as LeBron James recently told the media, the outcome could be scary.
I'd look for Lewis to begin the season as the 7th man in rotation off the bench, behind Ray Allen. This also hinges on whether Udonis Haslem or Shane Batter start in the frontcourt, with the outcome dictating what kind of immediate spark Spolestra might want off the bench. Lewis is a savvy veteran with impressive career averages of 16.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG while shooting 45% from the floor and 38% from 3-point range.
The Heat have a plethora of perimeter shooters but with the exception of Josh Harrellson, none are taller and subsequently more capable of getting their shot off than Lewis. In hindsight, more minutes for Lewis will ultimately result in less minutes for Mike Miller, Shane Battier and possibly Mario Chalmers but that might be the necessary course of action for coach Spoelstra. Barring no injury setbacks, I'd expect the Heat to shuffle between a 7 man rotation down the stretch of games, featuring Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers, Shane Battier and Rashard Lewis.
What are his strengths and weaknesses?
Lewis's weaknesses lie in his defensive inefficiencies and they're compounded by his health, age and attrition. However similar to Ray Allen, Lewis is capable of playing solid defense when surrounded by a team of good defenders. Whether slotted at the small forward or power forward position, the Heat should be able shed and account for any man to man struggles Lewis may have with their elite ability to help and recover on defense.
His strengths are simple: he's tall and can shoot the ball very well. Rashard Lewis is 8th all time in NBA history for most 3-point field goals made, netting 1,690 to date. And with Mike Miller ranking 24th on the all time list, the Miami Heat currently have 3 of the top 25 3-point shooters to ever play in the NBA. Yea....scary
Rashard Lewis will hit at least 1 game deciding, clutch shot for the Miami Heat during the playoffs.