Off-Day Open Thread: Should We Worry about Rashard Lewis?

As noted in last night's recap of the Orlando Magic's loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, forward Rashard Lewis has struggled mightily lately. He's not having a great season overall, sure, but he's been especially ineffectual since the All-Star break, averaging 11.6 points on 51.3% True Shooting, and 3.8 boards in 33.1 minutes. He laid an egg last night against Charlotte, missing 6 of his 7 shots--many of them wide-open--and grabbing just 2 rebounds in 34 minutes. In the last week, he played 110 minutes and managed 11 rebounds, which is almost exactly the rate at which Boston's Brian Scalabrine, who's about as mobile as the basket stanchion is, has boarded this season. And after last night's loss, coach Stan Van Gundy expressed concern about Lewis' lack of energy lately.

Unsurprisingly, Lewis--who made waves earlier this year by refusing to re-enter a game because Ryan Anderson, his backup, was playing so well--is saying the right things about putting the team first and his individual needs second. From Josh Robbins of Orlando Sentinel:

"It's a team," he said. "It says ‘Magic' on the jersey and not ‘Lewis' on the front of the jersey."

And from Tim Povtak of NBA FanHouse:

"I'm a veteran now on a good team, a team competing for a championship. It's loaded. Sometimes you have to sacrifice for that. As long as we're winning, I'm comfortable with it.''

Check that last part again: "as long as we're winning." Lewis spoke up earlier this season about not getting enough touches, and one wonders if he might voice his frustration again if Orlando goes through another rough patch.

So my question is two-fold: how concerned are you with Lewis' recent poor play? And to what extent are you worried about his attitude toward taking on a diminished role this season?

An optimistic argument goes something like this: around this time last year, his productivity had a similar decline, and he bounced back in time to play quite well in the postseason. Odds are he makes it two years in a row; betting against Lewis to deliver in key situations during his Orlando tenure has proven unwise.

The pessimistic outlook? He's 30 years old and taking more jumpers (and, consequently, fewer foul shots) with each passing year. And he's owed in excess of $60 million over the next three seasons.

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