Rashard Lewis’ Numbers Are Down. Why?


Rashard Lewis has had a tough 2009-10 season so far. Lewis had to sit out the first 10 games of the season due to a suspension handed down by the NBA after he tested positive DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone). Lewis was obviously disappointed about missing the start of the season but vowed to stay in shape by riding a bicycle during games “like Lance Armstrong,” which he did. Lewis’ taking of DHEA was a mistake that could have been made by anyone and most fans, players and analysts understood that but Lewis is a genuine person and decided to stay in good graces with the fans by starting his own blog and sharing pictures and video through social networking sites like twitter and facebook.

Through the internet, we saw that Lewis is a personable guy who cares from the fans. Lewis didn’t seem like he was down on himself at all, but is still having a down season. We’ll take a look at his numbers in an attempt to find out why.

Lewis is averaging 15.3 points per game, which is down from his first season in Orlando (18.2 points per game) and his second season in Orlando (17.7 points per game).

Lewis’s shooting percentage is down, but not by much. He shot 43.9% last season when he was an All-Star and is shooting 43.0% this season. Lewis is actually shooting better from the outside. He’s 42% from beyond the arc this season and was 39.7% last year. In fact, Lewis’ effective field goal percentage is higher this season (54.6%) than it was last season (54%).

Lewis is just not getting as many opportunities as he was last year, but why?

It doesn’t seem to be a fatigue issue with Lewis. He played 33 minutes or more in each of his first three games. Lewis minutes are down – he played 36.2 minutes per game last year and is playing 32.8 minutes per game this year but he doesn’t appear to be any more tired or worn out before, during and after games.

There is one big reason that Lewis’ minutes have been curtailed. The development of Ryan Anderson. Anderson is shooting 43.4% from the field and 38.2% from beyond the arc. He is averaging 9.7 points per game and has been a surprisingly good rebounder. He grabs 3.6 per game. You can see video of Anderson courtesy of Orlando Pinstriped Posted here.

The Magic have never really had a backup forward that can play like Lewis. With Anderson, the Magic can play the same style of offense with Lewis out of the game. They really haven’t had that luxury over the past two seasons, forcing Lewis to log heavy minutes.

Lewis is not getting the shots that he was last season. He averaged 14 attempts per game during the 2007-08 season and 13.8 shots per game last season. Lewis is attempting just 11.8 shots per game. This dip can most likely be credited to the arrival of Vince Carter. Although Carter plays less minutes than Lewis (31.8 per game), he takes 16.0 shots per game. No Magic player averaged more shots per game than Lewis last season.

Lewis also has some strange statistics. According to Hoopdata, in the two seasons prior to this, Lewis shot 62.0% on shots at the rim. This year, he is shooting just 47.1%. So, even though his three-point percentage is up and his shooting percentage on jump shots between 10 and 23 feet is higher this year than last year, Lewis isn’t scoring as often. Lewis is also attempting less easy shots. Last season, per 82games.com, 17% of Lewis’s shots were from a close distance, 2% were dunks and 1% were tips. This season, just 13% of his shots are from a close distance, 1% are dunks and he is yet to have a tip in. Lewis needs to take more high-percentage shots and has to make sure that he hits the easy ones.

Lewis was a very important piece of Orlando’s finals run last year and was the hero of several games. Lewis is an excellent scorer and needs the ball mo

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor at NFL Mocks Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)