Kira Lewis Jr. finished his first NBA season on Sunday with 12 points and four assists in the New Orleans Pelicans’ 110-98 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The rookie guard closed the campaign by playing the Pelicans ‘last 21 games after entering the field for 33 of New Orleans’ first 51 games in the 2020-21 season.
“It was a good year” Lewis said. “Learned a lot. It was one of the toughest years with COVID and all that, but everyone taught me along the way from the moment I got on the pitch, off the pitch, to take care of my body. , to train and I learned a lot.
“I’m really looking forward to instilling everything I’ve learned from last year and what I’m learning in the offseason for next season.”
In his first season, Lewis averaged 6.4 points, 1.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 0.7 steals in 16.7 minutes per game after joining New Orleans as the 13th draft pick in the draft. of the NBA 2020.
Most of year 1, Lewis said, “Just trying to improve myself every day so that I can help my team to win.”
“It slowed down a bit”, Lewis said of his experience in the NBA from his first appearance on December 29 until his last game. “Just get extra reps, get familiar with the game, the speed of the game; knowing where my teammates like to take the ball and read what the defense is doing before playing them, so with every game it becomes more comfortable and more comfortable.
During the offseason, Lewis wants to gain weight while maintaining his elite speed.
“Just stay in the gym, take care of your body, step into the weight room, train as hard as you can to get ready for next year,” Lewis said of its off-season plans. “That is just about everything. Of course, take a break for a week or two and then get back to work. “
COLLIN SEXTON SETS RECORD SCORING DESPITE EJECTION
New Orleans posted a 31-41 record and missed the Western Conference play-in tournament by two games. The Pelicans lost 14 games in which they had a double-digit lead, the most in the NBA, and posted a 2-11 record in games decided by three points or less.
The former Hazel Green High School and Alabama star will return to a squad with former NBA All-Stars to Zion forward Williamson and Brandon Ingram, who averaged 27.0 and 23, 8 points per game, respectively, in the 2020-2021 season.
But the backcourt could look different, which would pave the way for Lewis to contribute more.
Playmaker Lonzo Ball is a restricted free agent this offseason having averaged 14.6 points, 5.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game this season. New Orleans would be able to match any contract offer Ball received, but the size of that deal could be such that a signing and trade would be more acceptable from the Pelicans’ perspective.
As Ball’s backcourt partner, former Parker High School star Eric Bledsoe averaged 12.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in the 2020- campaign. 21, his lowest numbers in those three stats since he was reserve for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2012. -13 season.
If none of the guards return next season, Lewis could enter the starting lineup after failing to start once as a rookie. New Orleans will also see Nickeil Alexander-Walker return to custody. In his second NBA season, Alexander-Walker made 13 starts and averaged 11.0 points per game in 2020-21.