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Swarm Spotlight: Scottie Lewis can defend, but can he score?

The rookie on a two-way contract had lots of opportunity to refine his game with the Swarm

Greenboro Swarm v Raptors 905 Photo by Christian Bonin/NBAE via Getty Images

As a Greensboro resident I’m fortunate to attend a handful of Greensboro Swarm games every year. In this “Swarm Spotlight” series I’ll be sharing my observations from the games I attended in person. While this is a fairly limited sample size, I saw enough of each player being spotlighted to get a good feel for their strengths and development areas.

The subject of this week’s article is rookie guard Scottie Lewis.

Drafted: No. 56 overall (second round) in 2021

Age: 22

Size: 6’5”, 185 pounds

Swarm Stats: 45 games, 28.8 minutes, 10.7 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.1 blocks

Shooting: 47.3% FG, 30.5% 3PT (2.9 attempts per game), 81.0% FT

Scottie Lewis spent two years at the University of Florida before the Hornets took him in the second round of last year’s draft. Lewis never really distinguished himself with flashy stats in college - he averaged just 8.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 27.6 minutes per game - but his defense - 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks per game - and athletic upside were good enough for Charlotte to take a risk on him. To show their belief in his future, the Hornets signed him to a two-way contract this past season.

Charlotte’s brass knew Scottie would need some time to develop in the G League. He wasn’t near ready for the NBA coming out of college. And to the team’s credit, Lewis played the second most total minutes for the Swarm in 2021-22, giving him a lot of good reps in refining his game.

Lewis’s strengths

First and foremost, Lewis’s athleticism is hard to miss. After watching him in person I understand why he blew away the NBA Combine last year. At the combine he had the fastest lane agility time among all participants, he tied for first in the three-quarter sprint, and his 42-inch vertical ranked fourth. At the combine he measured in at 6’4” without shoes, but somehow has a 7’0” wingspan! He’s got all of the physical tools needed for a rangy NBA guard.

Combine that athleticism with good instincts and a willingness to defend, and Lewis is a real defensive disruptor. He guards on-ball and off-ball well. He goes chest-to-chest with ballhandlers and is hard to get past. His quickness and wingspan lead to him getting a number deflections, steals, and blocks. While the G League can be a bit sloppy at times, it’s still impressive that Lewis averaged 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game as a rookie with the Swarm.

While Lewis isn’t a primary go-to scorer, he shot the ball well from inside the 3-point line. He averaged a smart, controlled 10.7 points on just 8.3 field goal attempts per game while shooting 47.3% from the floor. Given his athleticism, many of his buckets came in transition or when he got the ball already on the move and could slither past his defender.

Development opportunities

I watched several Swarm games with my eye specifically on Scottie Lewis knowing that he was a rookie on a two-way contract. I had pretty high hopes that he would flash some of that NBA-level potential like I saw in James Bouknight, Kai Jones, and Arnoldas Kulboka, but that didn’t happen.

While his defense is solid, his offensive game needs a lot of work. His jumper is really inconsistent and he hit just 30.5% of his 3-pointers on a tentative 2.9 attempts per game. His lack of an outside game allows defenders to sag off him just a bit which largely negates his quickness and speed. If he’s going to make it in the NBA, he’s going to need to develop an outside game.

He’s also not a great rebounder or facilitator at this stage in his career. At times he seemed way too passive and would just drift for stretches when the Swarm had the ball.

The summary

The Hornets saw Scottie Lewis as a high-upside prospect in the second round of the draft. While he proved he could hang just fine in the G League as a rookie this past year, he’s going to need to come a long way before being ready to contribute to the Hornets at the NBA level.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back with the Swarm next year getting a lot of minutes and hopefully working on his outside game. His defense will be NBA-ready sooner than later, but he won’t be able to flash those skills until he proves he can also contribute on the offensive end.

Here’s the best Scottie Lewis highlight video I could find if you’d like to see him in action for yourself.