The wing out of Pepperdine played and started in all 31 games while also leading the team in scoring with 17.1 points per contest during his sophomore season.
SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell had Lewis rated as the 22nd-best prospect in the draft, so this would appear to be good value for the Lakers. According to both the Athletic and ESPN’s mock drafts, Lewis was projected to land in the 31-36 range.
In terms of other outlets, the Athletic’s Sam Vecenie slotted Lewis as the 35th-best prospect on his big board, citing his athleticism and length as key strengths. Vecenie listed Lewis’ 7-foot wingspan and absurd 8-foot standing reach as notable physical specs.
When it comes to offensive fit, Vecenie also thinks highly of Lewis’ shooting at the next level. This is an obvious good sign for a Lakers’ team still in search of consistent spacing.
The skill that will translate most is his shooting, particularly off the catch. Lewis is a good shooter, having made 35.4 percent from 3 in college. If he’s open directly off the catch, it’s curtains. The ball is almost certainly going in...In total, Lewis made 44.1 percent of his shots directly off the catch this past season, per Synergy. Only issue was that he took under two per game.
Lewis intrigues NBA teams with his dimensions, standing 6'7 with a 6'10 wingspan and a frame that should fill out considerably in time. He's a smooth, fluid shot-creator with a wide array of hesitation moves operating out of isolation and pick and roll.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) March 20, 2023
FILM: https://t.co/UirrtQYNkm pic.twitter.com/nYChu6sis9
It's worth noting, those who have watched Lewis this season have noted his slight frame and shaky defensive acumen as potential weaknesses at the next level. These will be areas to watch when he goes up against NBA talent for the first time at this year’s Summer League.
Lewis joins Jalen Hood-Schifino — who the team took at No. 17 — as the latest selections from Lakers’ scouting department, which is arguably the strongest compartment of the team’s basketball operations.
While it’s always a bit of a crapshoot with players selected in the second round, the scouting department has had success in the later portions of the draft in the past.
Also worth noting, the Lakers paid the Pacers a reported $4.35 million just to move up to this pick, essentially the max they had available and more than double what they paid to buy No. 35 outright last season. All this to say, the team and their scouts must really like Lewis.
The Lakers take Maxwell Lewis at No. 40 -- had him graded highly, and Lewis had an impressive group workout early in the process.— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) June 23, 2023
It still remains to be seen how much impact Lewis can have on a team that is clearly still in win-now mode, but the league has shown a team can never have enough players with good size and a projectable shot.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated with more information and analysis as it develops, but for now, what do you think of the pick? Let us know in the comments below.
You can follow Alex on Twitter at @AlexmRegla.