Five more things to know about Pelicans draftee Kira Lewis Jr.
1) There was significant discussion before and after Wednesday’s draft about Lewis’ high-level speed. The 19-year-old said that trait comes from his family, which is filled with athletes and runners. Lewis: “My dad’s side of the family is very athletic-build (people), kind of like mine, so it was natural. But for the most part my speed came from my mom’s side. She ran track and all of her family members ran some type of sporting event. They just love to run. So for the most part, my speed came from my mom’s side of the family.” Lewis’ mother was a sprinter.
2) Lewis’ draft stock seemed to rise rapidly as the annual event approached, with the Alabama point guard moving up mock drafts and eventually being commonly projected as a lottery pick. Lewis said he tried not to focus on how the perception of him was improving in the days leading up to Wednesday, but added, “With all of the platforms and all the social media, even if you try not to look at it, you’ll see something every now and then. But I don’t try to pay attention to it, because you never know what can happen (before the draft). Trades can happen. Anything can happen. Whatever happens (in the draft), that’s what I’ll really be focusing on.”
3) Asked during the NBA virtual draft combine last week to list what he will bring to a franchise, the 6-foot-3, 170-pound Lewis said, “I try to bring every aspect I can, whether it’s ballhandling, passing, shooting, defense, rebounding.” On the areas he’d like to improve, he said, “I’m trying to get better being more physical with my size and handling maybe bigger defenders, cutting them off on the way to the basket, (and making better) pick-and-roll reads.”
4) There were three University of Alabama players who appeared in an NBA game during the 2019-20 season, including recent lottery pick Collin Sexton of Cleveland (the others are LA Clippers forward JaMychal Green and Brooklyn center Donta Hall). As a fellow Crimson Tide product and backcourt player chosen in the NBA lottery, Lewis was asked recently about comparisons to 2018 pick Sexton, responding, “I hear about it a lot. I try not to think too much of it, because I want to be my own player. He’s a great player in the league, though, so comparisons to him are always great to hear, because of all the success he’s had in the league so far.”
5) In case you missed it, Pelicans.com previously highlighted five facts about Lewis last night, immediately after he was selected. After spending two years at Alabama, Lewis plans to finish his degree. He majored in consumer science on the Tuscaloosa campus, according to the school’s official website. The son of Kira Sr. and Natasha Lewis, he has two sisters, named Nakerra and Nesha.