Friday, November 19, 2010
Why Rashard Lewis Is The NBA's Most Overpaid Player
Numbers often don't lie, but if I told you that a player who is averaging a paltry 10.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg and shooting only 38% from the field was making $19,573,711 this season alone would you believe me? What if I told you that same player still has two more seasons and $43.8 mil left on his contract? You would think I was joking, right? Well the player just described is none other than Orlando Magic forward Rashard Lewis, who is in the fourth year of a 6-year, $112.7 mil sign and trade deal that was negotiated back in 2007. Someone give his agent a raise.
If you have seen any Orlando Magic games this season, you'll notice that Lewis has looked every bit of lost out on the court. He has scored less than double digits in 5 out of the Magic's 11 games so far this season. His worst performance might have been when Oct. 29th against the Heat, where Lewis was 0-9 from the field and fouled out in only 25 minutes of play. The Magic lost that game by 26 points. Ask yourself, is that worth $19 mil?
So far this season Rashard Lewis has made Albert Haynesworth look like Charlie Hustle. There has been little effort and also what seems like a lack of focus. Some would argue that decline in play would be because Lewis has played more power forward this season which puts him in tougher match ups, but I don't buy it. Lewis has played a flex forward position since back in his all-star days with the Sonics so that point is moot. Lewis' production has been on the decline every year he has been in Orlando, from averaging 18.2 in 07-08, to 17.7, 14.2, and 10.5 so far this season (respectively). His shooting percentage has also been on the dropping every season which is definitely a cause for concern.
From my perspective, I think Lewis' reduced role has played the biggest factor in his decline in play and effort. Lewis is part of a deep forward rotation that includes Quentin Richardson, Mickael Pietrus, Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson and sometimes Vince Carter when the Magic go to a smaller lineup. Lewis is the type of wing player who needs touches to be successful and in the current Magic system he is expected to be more of a spot up shooter, which doesn't really utilize his full potential.
So how do the Magic fix this issue? Trading Lewis is pretty much impossible with that much money and years left on his deal, unless they find a taker in a team who needs a scoring swingman and would be willing to trade large deals. A team that would fit this description: the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers could trade Baron Davis and a throw-in like Rasual Butler (who's contract is up after this season) and they also have the cap space to afford Lewis' contract. Lewis is only 31 (same age as Baron) and the swap would fill needs for both Orlando and Los Angeles as the Magic need point guard depth and the Clippers need a 3. A change of scenery might be just what both players need to jump start their careers. Tell me that doesn't work... I thought so.
Maybe I should get Orlando GM Otis Smith and Clippers GM Neil Olshey on the horn and make this happen. Fans of both teams can thank me later (no Drake).
Just a thought.
-ALR (follow me on twitter @a_ramseyLTSB)