It wasn’t known if Scottie Lewis was going to hear his name called on NBA Draft night but late in the second round, pick number 56 to be exact, he was selected by the Charlotte Hornets.
Coming out of high school the consensus top-10 recruit was thought to go one-and-done at Florida, but his freshman season didn’t go according to plan and he ended up returning to Gainesville for a sophomore season. While there weren’t any massive strides in his development, the Hornets decided to take a chance on his athleticism and work ethic, banking on him being far from a finished product.
What definitely helped Lewis’ case was a strong performance at the NBA Combine where he was one of the top performers in the vertical leap, sprint, and agility measurements. Between his high pedigree as a high school star and a strong performance at the NBA Combine, Charlotte thought he was worth a chance.
Lewis was also able to sign with Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, unquestionably the most powerful agent in all of basketball, and perhaps all of sports. Given Paul’s pull around the league, Lewis couldn’t have a better person representing him.
There is definitely a pathway to Lewis earning a role with the Hornets. LaMelo Ball is at the center of their rebuild, and while they have some talented scorers on the wing such as Gordon Hayward, Malik Monk, and Devonte Graham, none of those guys are particularly athletic and can struggle to defend in some matchups. While Lewis’ defensive quality at Florida never fully reached what his physical tools suggested it could be, there is plenty of room for that to blossom in an NBA development program.
NBA defenses are far more scrambled than the tight structure of NCAA basketball, and Lewis might do better in that role. His ability to make recovery plays with his length and athleticism could serve him well in the rapid rotation NBA defensive style, so he may end up having a better NBA career than a college career.
There are no guaranteed contracts for second round picks so it’s unknown what his first contract will be, though based on recent picks in that range it will probably be a two year deal that isn’t fully guaranteed. He’ll need to continue to grind and prove himself, and knowing his personality, that’s exactly what he wants to do.