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Posted at 12:18 PM ET, 12/22/2010

Rashard Lewis prepares for debut with Wizards

By James Wagner


Rashard Lewis is expected to make his season debut Wednesday against the visiting Chicago Bulls, giving the former all-star a chance see the floor with his new teammates and provide some frontcourt versatility as the Wizards will again be without rookie guard John Wall.

Lewis, who practiced for the first time Tuesday and was among the first to take the court during Wednesday morning's shoot-around, is getting acclimated to the Wizards' offense and fitting in just fine.

"It seems like he's doing great," guard Nick Young said. "He's picking the offense up fast. He's starting to get along with everybody. Everybody is bringing him in and making him feel comfortable."

The Wizards hope that the 6-foot-10 forward, who struggled at small forward this season for Orlando, will provide match-up problems for opponents with his size and ability to shoot three-pointers. Guard Kirk Hinrich said Lewis can bring more balance as a proven forward to the Wizards roster.

"He's a veteran big," Hinrich said. "He's been in big games and played on good teams. And just his game, [he's a] guy that can stretch the floor and cause problems for other teams."

Lewis, who the Wizards acquired in a trade Saturday for Gilbert Arenas, is on track to play between 20 and 30 minutes against the Bulls, said Coach Flip Saunders. "We have to wait and see his comfort level," he said. "But I anticipate that he will give us that."

Though the Wizards have played perhaps their best basketball of the season of late, they have yet to win consecutive games this year. They snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 108-75 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night.

On the other hand, the Bulls have been one of the hottest teams in the league, winning eight of their past nine games, including a 121-76 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday, and boast the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. Chicago is expected to be without big man Joakim Noah.

"I haven't paid too much attention to them, expect for yesterday and today, when we're getting ready to play them," said Hinrich, whom the Wizards acquired in a July trade from Chicago. "But just from what I've seen, they're playing hard, obviously defensively they're good. They've got some good players. And they're playing well. It's definitely going to be a challenge.

Said Saunders: "It'd be nice [to win two straight.] But we have got to play well. I think they feel pretty good about themselves as far as understanding what it takes to have a chance to be successful, as far as playing hard and playing as a team. So we just have to build off that."

* Saunders said there was "no change" in the No. 1 overall pick's condition. Wall, who has a bone bruise under his right kneecap and is out "indefinitely," hasn't played since a Dec. 10 loss to the New York Knicks.

By James Wagner  | December 22, 2010; 12:18 PM ET
 
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Next: Nick Young taking advantage of Gilbert Arenas's absence

Comments

Rashard Lewis should be able to play in a line up along with whatever F they need him to. Remember he played alongside Hedo Turk with both players being 6'10".

If they need him to play some 3 and he can't defend a lot of other 3's, that's something we wouldn't be unacustomed to. If they need him to play some 4 and he doesn't provide the desired inside presense, that also something we wouldn't be unacustomed to.

Posted by: gmac78

Posted by: gmac78 | December 22, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The wiz were already big but just got bigger. Hopefully they can play physical and out rebound the bulls. I think this is the beginning of a multi-game win streak.

Along with the size, they have respectable shooters; Young, Lewis, Hinrich, Dre, Al,& Howard. I hope T. Booker keeps his minutes, dude can ball!!!

If the effort is there, we'll win!!

Posted by: Gooddad | December 22, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I think he will get abused by starting PFs without Dwight backing him up. When he was paired with Radmanovic, Rashard usually played as a stretch 4 on O and a SF on D. We could see him paired with Thornton if Flip wants to re-create that here.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 22, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Actually, when he played with Radmanovic in Seattle, it was Vlade who was usually the one camped out back behind the 3 pt line and Lewis who played inside (or at least closer to the basket).

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 22, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Actually, when he played with Radmanovic in Seattle...

I don't see a contradiction with what I wrote.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 22, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"I don't see a contradiction with what I wrote."

"Stretch 4" is a big man who shoots primarily from the perimeter. When he was on the floor with Radmanovic, Lewis took more of his shots closer to the basket while Radmanovic set up out on the perimeter. Meaning that this: "When he was paired with Radmanovic, Rashard usually played as a stretch 4 on O" isn't actually true. When he was paired with Radmanovic, Lewis was more of an interior player on offense. He drifted more out to the perimeter when he was paired with Reggie Evans or Danny Fortson, but in those alignments, he'd be playing the 3 on offense.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 22, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Meaning that this: "When he was paired with Radmanovic, Rashard usually played as a stretch 4 on O" isn't actually true.

I think your definition of stretch 4 is too rigid. Jamison is a stretch 4, but that doesn't mean he is more perimeter oriented than a SF(even if it seems that way sometimes). He's more perimeter oriented than a traditional PF.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 22, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"I think your definition of stretch 4 is too rigid. Jamison is a stretch 4, but that doesn't mean he is more perimeter oriented than a SF(even if it seems that way sometimes). He's more perimeter oriented than a traditional PF."

I never said anything about anyone being "more perimeter oriented than a SF." I have no idea where you even got that from. I said (A) that a stretch 4 is a big man who primarily shoots jump shots (which he is) and (B) that when Lewis played next to Radmanovic he wasn't primarily a jumpshooter, he was more of an interior player (which he was). He still had the ability to be a stretch 4, but in that particular combo, that was not his role on offense. Which is in contradiction to what you said.

Posted by: kalo_rama | December 22, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

when Lewis played next to Radmanovic he wasn't primarily a jumpshooter, he was more of an interior player (which he was). He still had the ability to be a stretch 4, but in that particular combo, that was not his role on offense.

Oh, I thought you were saying that he was more of an interior player than Radmanovic, not that he was more of an interior player than jumpshooter. He has always primarily been a jumpshooter. With Radmanovic there were mismatches and the spacing offered more opportunities to score inside, but not to the degree that you are suggesting.

Posted by: djnnnou | December 22, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

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