At first glance, Justin Lewis offers a similar profile to Raptors forward OG Anunoby and could alleviate defensive pressure on Toronto's wings. Listen to the full episode on the best options for Toronto at No. 33 on the "Raptors Over Everything" podcast feed, or watch on YouTube.
AMIT MANN: Justin Lewis is the other guy that comes to mind for me in this role. I really like him.
COREY TULABA: Yeah, Justin Lewis, I think, is really underrated in this draft. There is almost no buzz about him. He's one of the guys I featured in that article, "What Would Masai Do?", because he just screams to me, like, this is what Masai likes-- 6' 7", 6' 8", long, I mean, tree trunks for legs, brute strength, and can dribble. And he can shoot it. And, I think, defensively, he's probably-- he's not the top guy out of this group, defensively. But I actually think that he's got good defensive potential. He just needs to be coached up on that end a little bit.
But I think he gives good effort. He's shown flashes. And he's one of those guys that-- I think we're going to look back and be like, man, why did this guy drop to the second round? This doesn't make sense. Everything we've talked about and discussed-- he represents that. He's not necessarily the same as Scottie as a playmaker or anything. But he offers unique skills at his size that-- I could really see him developing in the Raptor system to be a player similar to OG. And I think, I mean, if you get a guy like that at 33, what are we talking about here? That's--
AMIT MANN: Exactly.
COREY TULABA: --you know, a home run.
AMIT MANN: On the podcast I did yesterday, I made that very example. I'm like, he reminds me-- when I look at him play in college, he reminds me of OG Anunoby, just because it's kind of awkward-- the way he goes about things. But, actually, he's a bit more fluid than OG was in college. And the way he plays-- I mean, 17 points, eight rebounds, 44% from the field, 35% from three. 35% is pretty good at this stage. And, I mean, he's got the leaping ability. He's got a bit of a pull up to him. Probably the Raptors would tweak his jumper a little bit.
But you can already see how he'd be able to play the four in the NBA at 235 pounds. OG, for anyone curious-- he's 230. This guy's 235. So there you go. It's just a matter of that lateral quickness, which I think the Raptors would work with. But off-ball as a defender-- I think he's a bit more elite than some of the other guys we've talked about because I think, again, he really relishes it. He wants to, you know, poach big men when they're not looking. He wants to get in the lane and block shots. And he wants to take charges. Right off the bat, I wonder if the Raptors are going to end up taking him because he's a pretty decent fit.
COREY TULABA: Yeah, and I also think he's one of the guys we talked about who you can most visibly see switch on to fives because he is so strong, especially his core and his legs-- his base. You could really-- like, nobody's going to be like, let me throw it on the block, and let's post him up, because he's a brick wall. It would be like going up against a brick wall. So I think that that's something diverse. A lot of these 6' 8" wings-- they have versatility. They could play in a pinch. But I legitimately think there's going to be teams that he could just play the five against--
AMIT MANN: Sure.
COREY TULABA: --not every team in the league and--
AMIT MANN: No, I hear you.
COREY TULABA: --not for an entire game, but certainly situationally-- maybe for a couple of minutes where you're really trying to go small. And I think that's an interesting wrinkle
AMIT MANN: 7' 2" wingspan-- and the backup center position-- we're going to get to some centers in a second here. But it's a bit fluid at the moment. I mean, yeah, they've got a lot of different people they could throw out there. But if they have someone who is willing to take a few bumps while Scottie and Pascal or OG are able to go do offensive things, that sounds pretty good to me. And as a cutter, I like him there too. I think he'll attack closeouts. He's got some sneaky physicality to his driving. I think he's going to get into people. He's going to make them feel his presence on his drives. And he's going to take some bumps. And he's going to be relishing being able to take those bumps because he loves playing that way. Contact is his name. And that's his mold. I could see him being a Raptor in a couple of days. That's where I'm at with him.