Rashard Lewis ready to break outPosted by Inside Hoops
The Orlando Magic roster includes Dwight Howard and a pair of star small forwards in Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu. Because there’s no great power forward on board, Lewis wound up playing as an undersized PF last season, and he’ll be doing so this year as well. Though his offense remains that of an outside-shooting SF, defensively he’s up against rugged players. Lewis took a bit of a back seat to teammates last season but this year plans on being more assertive. Here’s more about Lewis from Florida Today (John Denton):
“(Being more selfish) is something that I need to do, but not necessarily trying to do,” Lewis said. “It’s just my nature to play the right way. When I’m double teamed, I’m going to look for the open man. But at some points in the game, I do have to be more selfish to score more points when we need baskets. I’m more comfortable with the system, with the guys and now I’m more ready to be a little more selfish.” General manager Otis Smith has been prodding Lewis to not defer so much to small forward Hedo Turkoglu, who had a breakout season in part because Lewis kept defenses honest. And head coach Stan Van Gundy has pushed for Lewis to try and get to the rim, and ultimately the free throw line, more by resisting the notion to shoot so many 3-pointers. After all, the Magic didn’t reward Lewis — a one-time all-star during his playing days with the Seattle SuperSonics, — a six-year, $118 million contract for him to just fit in. He has the skill set to be a dominant scorer, but often his mellow demeanor saps some of his aggressiveness. The Magic are trying to change that aspect of the 6-foot-10, 230-pound Lewis.
The Magic should remain one of the best teams in the East, but they aren’t true championship contenders just yet. Their big question mark remains their backcourt. Watch the performance of their guards this season. If no one steps up, it’ll limit how far the Magic can go in the playoffs.