Rashard Lewis' Slow Start Hampering the Orlando Magic So Far

Rashard Lewis has played a role in the Orlando Magic's slow start to this regular season. The veteran combo forward isn't producing at acceptable levels, shooting 37.1 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from three-point range. Offense is his commodity, and when he isn't scoring, or a threat to score, he's not exactly an asset.

Brian Schmitz, the Orlando Sentinel's Magic Insider, explored this topic for the morning's paper. In Schmitz's piece, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy offered this bit of insight about what's ailing his two-time All-Star forward:

"My only concern with Rashard, as I told him, is he lets something as minor as a shooting slump affect his energy and enthusiasm for playing," Van Gundy said.

"That's my only concern. The shooting will come around if he just goes out and plays hard, enjoys the game and the whole thing."

Lewis' usage rate stands at 18.9 percent, the third straight season it's declined, so he's simply not involved in the offense as often as he's been in the past. At least the decline in opportunities--and, according to Van Gundy's diagnosis, energy--hasn't adversely affected his rebounding. Lewis has grabbed an estimated 11.2 percent of available rebounds when on the court this season, his best figure since he snagged 11.4 percent of available boards as a 22-year-old nine seasons ago.

Lewis' offensive troubles have hurt the team thus far, but with 72 games left following tonight's matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies, he has plenty of time to sort everything out.

For more on Lewis' underwhelming season to date, I refer you to Eddy Rivera at MagicBasketball.net, who mined some relevant data earlier this afternoon.

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