Kira Lewis Jr. is apparently moving up the NBA draft boards the way he did around the court at Alabama – swiftly.
A few months ago, the 6-foot-3 sophomore point guard from Alabama might have been considered a candidate for the 76ers, who are to select 21st in the first round of the NBA draft Wednesday.
While Lewis could be available at 21, most experts have him going much higher.
Considered the fastest player in the draft, Lewis, who won’t turn 20 until April, greatly benefited from a second season at Alabama.
After averaging 13.5 points, 2.9 assists, and 0.8 steals in 31.6 minutes, while shooting 35.8% from three-point range, as a freshman, he improved last season.
Lewis averaged 18.5 points, 5.2 assists, and 1.8 steals in 37.6 minutes during his sophomore season, and shot 36.6% from three-point range. He was a first-team all-SEC selection.
He also helped USA Basketball win the gold medal at the 2019 FIBA under-19 Basketball World Cup.
During an NBA Zoom interview on Friday, he said he has not worked out for the Sixers. Lewis did say he had a Zoom call with the organization.
“It went good. Great people. Just really want the best for their program. Really good,” he said about the Sixers. “I really had a good time, was relaxed in the interview, told them what I like to do as far as basketball on and off the court. So it was a good meeting.”
He is trying not to think about the perception that he is zooming up the draft boards.
“Well, with all the platforms on social media, even if you try not to look at it, you will see something every now and then. But I don’t try to pay any attention to it because you never know what can happen between today and Wednesday,” he said. “Trades can happen. Anything can happen, and what happens on Wednesday is what I really will be focusing on.”
How fast is Lewis? His coach last season at Alabama, Nate Oats, provided this quote to the NBA draft guide.
“He is the fastest kid from one end of the floor to the other that I’ve ever coached," Oats said. "The NBA has gone to a game of pace and getting up and down, so I think he fits the direction the league is going. He is a great kid who wants to be in the gym and get better.”
Ryan Blake, a draft consultant to NBA teams, is high on Lewis.
“He’s a good combo point, can shoot it. He plays defense. He’s very athletic,” Blake said. “If he were available at 21, absolutely it is a player you would think the 76ers would look at a player like that.”
Lewis didn’t name all the teams he has worked out for, but the ones he mentioned were Orlando, which picks 15th in the first round; Chicago (fourth); Detroit (seventh); and the New York Knicks (eightth and 27th).
He understands that even in the NBA a player can play too fast, which is something he is working on.
“I know there are going to be times, being a rookie, I might have mistakes. But that is when it really goes back to watching film and seeing how you can kind of manage that speed, and not get out of control, and really change paces, which is going to be a big thing with my speed," he said.