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Rashard Lewis

The Seattle Supersonics has been the story so far at the start of this NBA season.  Many basketball analysts had predicted that Seattle would finish among the worst teams in the league, much less make the playoffs.  But they’re laughing now as they are currently leading the West’s Northwest Division and amongst the top teams in the very talented Western Conference with a sparkling 15-wins, 3-losses. 

Although a lot of credit to Seattle’s success has gone to their all-star guard, Ray Allen, their 25 year old forward, Rashard Lewis deserves equal credit – but that is not really in Lewis’ nature to be in the limelight.  In fact, he prefers the anonymity, but that won’t last for long as more and more opponents are zeroing in on Lewis as the focal point of their defense. 

So far this season, Lewis has been playing some solid ball, although many of his teammates and coaches say that he hasn’t yet elevated his game.  Nevertheless, Lewis is scoring 21.2 points per game, second on the team behind Allen (24.1 ppg), and 17th best in the league.  He is playing 39.2 minutes per game (15th in the league), while shooting an excellent 48% from the field including 39% from 3-point range. 

Lewis has been a model of consistency so far this season – something that he has not achieved in his past.  Of the 18 games the Sonics has played thus far, Lewis has reached double digits in points in 17 of them, and has scored at least 20 points in 12 of those games.  Although his rebounding numbers are down, he doesn’t need to focus on that aspect of the game as much with the solid interior presence provided by Reggie Evans, Jerome James, and Danny Fortson, which has greatly freed his perimeter game where he becomes more effective.   

Despite his relative anonymity, it is easy to forget that Lewis was a highly touted prep star at Alief Elsik High School in Texas.  Following high school, Lewis declared his eligibility for the 1998 NBA Draft where he was selected in the second round with the 38th overall pick by the Seattle Supersonics.  That pick will surely go down as one of the biggest steals in NBA history.  Going into this season, Lewis has had averaged 14.8, 16.8, 18.1, and 17.8 points per game over his last four seasons.  Though his scoring average is above respectable, many critics had labeled Lewis a streaky and inconsistent performer.  This has all changed this season, and at only 25 years of age, only one year older than rookie Nick Collison, Lewis is starting to enter his prime in his seventh NBA season.