Probably the speediest guard in the draft and a solid 3-point shooter in his sophomore season at Alabama, it seems like Kira Lewis Jr. is rising up draft boards, including the Knicks’.
SNY’s Ian Begley reported that Lewis, in addition to a Zoom call, has worked out in person for the Knicks prior to the draft:
A note on the Knicks and the 2020 NBA Draft: New York recently saw former Alabama point guard Kira Lewis Jr. work out in person, SNY sources confirm.
That they saw Lewis in person tells you that they have strong interest in him. Teams can only make 10 pre-draft visits to work players out.
I can’t help but agree with Ian, that does seem important! Considering the Knicks currently have three draft picks and only 10 in-person workouts they can host (though they are allowed to sit in on other teams working out prospects, with permission), it’s a hell of an endorsement to work out Lewis, who profiles as a reach with the eighth pick, and basically unattainable with the 27th or 38th.
Marc Berman of the NY Post went so far as to say the Knicks didn’t just work out Lewis, they’ve reached the wine-and-dine stage as well:
The FaceTime call to Alabama coach Nate Oats came from Miami. On the other end were Oats’ former point guard, Kira Lewis Jr., Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, general manager Scott Perry and senior VP William Wesley.
They were all having dinner Monday night in Miami and wanted to clue in Oats on the good time they were enjoying.
“I talked to Thibs two nights ago and Scott Perry and World Wide Wes,’’ Oats told The Post in a phone interview. “The area that Kira needs the most improvement on is defense. Thibs is renowned for his defense and he can help him become a great defender. On the offensive side of the ball, he’s got everything teams are looking for now with the speed.
“He really wants to be great. And if you play for Thibs, you got to love basketball. He’s going to grind it up. But Kira loves basketball and is in the gym grinding all the time.”
On top of all that, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report reports that not just the Knicks, but also the Magic, Pistons, and Bulls have worked out Lewis as well. Two of those teams are above the Knicks in the draft, so maybe it’s possible Lewis is starting to generate some top 10 buzz. A tasty extra benefit to the Knicks there is that if a team like the Pistons falls in love Lewis for the seventh pick, that could leave someone like Killian Hayes (with Detroit almost assuredly the biggest roadblock to getting him) ripe for the taking for the Knicks.
All of this could be much ado about nothing, but there’s certainly some smoke with the Knicks and Kira. Now we just wait to see if there’s fire. Feel free to check out his prospect profile over at The Strickland and a great breakdown too if you want more info!