Justin Lewis appreciation post

Photo via Marquette Basketball Facebook

You know me by now. I’m quick to draw at jumping into hype cycles. It doesn’t take much scrolling to find pertinent examples of this from just last week, and a deeper search of Paint Touches post has a graveyard of cold hype takes.

But in November, as we kept seeing practice and scrimmage videos from the Marquette account being posted, Justin Lewis was being featured heavily, leading to the following take.

Just 18 days and 4 real games later, we can say definitively it was not an accident he was hogging the practice spotlight and the hype train is nearing capacity.

Here are how a couple former Marquette players and current TBT legends describe him.

It’s easy to dismiss my ramblings, I’m a dumb fan who dabbles as internet data guy for a team he likes way too much. But when you’re seeing these kinds of comments from players that have seen and done this at such a high level, it’s time to adjust the overall outlook.

This is not a live overreaction to a single play that happened to win the game, either. This has been building for a few games related to a whole host of skills.

Rebounding

Justin’s ability to rebound transcends his physical gifts of tremendous athleticism, long arms and giant hands. He has a rebounder’s feel and is ferocious at attacking the ball off the glass.

The raw numbers are ridiculous (8.3 reb per game, 15.7 per 40 minutes), but the rebounding rates are just as impressive. Lewis is in the top 200 of all players with a DReb rate of 23.3% and in the top 50 with an OReb rate of 16.6%. But this being so early into the season, rates aren’t always indicative of larger attributes.

If we limit it to players that have played 50% of minutes in at least 3 games, the company Lewis is keeping shrinks dramatically. Only 14 players nationwide fit those requirements and have an OReb% above 15% and DReb% above 20%.

Only 3 of those 14 are freshman and of those 3, Justin is the only player under 6’10”. Again, it’s a small sample, but the eye test backs this up and then some. He’s elite.

Poise

Jamil used the word poise to describe Justin, and that’s the perfect word. I don’t have to tell you about it, just watch this.

You don’t expect a true freshman to be in the game in this situation. You definitely don’t think he’s going to get a touch. It’s almost unthinkable to see said freshman get a post up with the shot clock under 10 seconds.

And yet here we were, and Lewis reacted like a seasoned vet. He knew had a mismatch so smartly took his time backing his way into the paint and cooly finished off the glass. This, more than the game-winner proved his mettle.

For the season, Lewis has 10 points on 9 post up possessions. If opponents keep putting undersized defenders, he’ll continue to make them pay, no matter what the game situation.

Shooter

Coming out of high school, the report on Lewis was that he had a decent stroke, but what he’s proven to date is well beyond that. He’s 4-6 on the season from 3 and continually makes teams pay for leaving him open, as he showed last night.

He’s not going to be a 66% shooter the whole season, but the form is fluid and shot selection smart, where he’s not trying to take guys off the dribble. Teams won’t be able to drop off him, making him a huge threat rolling like Sam Hauser used to in the pick and roll.

Threat

Don’t take my word for it, though, watch how Wisconsin defended him on 2 closing possessions with all the chips on the table.

This is not the same clip.

I’ve been highlighting the difficulty Marquette’s guards have had scoring off the pick and roll all season, and it’s no coincidence they finally were able to turn the corner (literally) last night.

Conclusion

Justin Lewis is a special player just scratching the surface of his potential. Enjoy him while it lasts.

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Categories: Analysis

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One Comment on “Justin Lewis appreciation post”

  1. December 6, 2020 at 10:26 am #

    Back on 15 August 20, in my annual BE Predictions, i cited the Warrior/GE’s as my #3 pick in the Big East this season. Garcia and Lewis bolster a strong interior and Carton stirs the drink. DJ is potentially the best PG since Butch for the Warriors. Gonna be a great team and a fun year in Milwaukee. gtmoBlue

    http://www.bluenotes2.comhttps://youtu.be/FaQCl0s7QRU Predictions show (ported to youtube)https://youtu.be/yL9gVo5PQ8c Big East Preview w Fanta, Nayatawa, & Novachap

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