Wizards' Lewis struggles with losing situation

191544.jpg

Wizards' Lewis struggles with losing situation

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WASHINGTON We hear all the time about players going from losing situations to winning ones, and the adjustment that has to be made.

Well, what about players who do just the opposite, players like Rashard Lewis?

Lewis began the season with the Orlando Magic, a team that went to the NBA Finals two years ago and was on the short list of legitimate title contenders this season.

After a so-so start by the Magic, Orlando brass felt a change had to be made.

On Dec. 18, Lewis was traded to Orlando for Washington's Gilbert Arenas.

"Our goal with that trade, with all our trades really, is to make this team better," Orlando General Manager Otis Smith told CSNNE.com. "I believe we've done that."

Lewis said the trade definitely caught him off guard.

"I was definitely surprised," Lewis said. "I heard the rumor that morning. I didn't think nothing of it, because you hear a lot of rumors, all the time."

Celtics guard Ray Allen is one of Lewis' closest friends, a relationship that developed when both played for the Seattle Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder).

While the two haven't talked specifically about Lewis' current situation, Allen knows it hasn't been easy for him.

"Obviously, he's been flipped; a guaranteed playoff position (in Orlando) to trying to squeeze in (with Washington)," Allen said. "I know it's an emotional roller coaster."

Even with Washington's 85-83 win over Boston on Saturday, the Wizards' reality hasn't changed.

The Wizards (13-29) are still one of the NBA's worst teams.

For Lewis, coming to grips with that has not been easy, especially when you consider the situation he left in Orlando.

"It's a major challenge," Lewis said. "Not only physically, but mentally. It's mostly a mental challenge when you go from a team that's competing for a title, to a team that's rebuilding."

Part of that rebuilding process is to not only become a more competitive team, but occasionally pull off an upset like Saturday's win over Boston.

Lewis had a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds, using his 6-foot-11 frame to score over and around Boston's Paul Pierce, who is 6-7, and 6-6 Marquis Daniels who saw extended minutes because of Pierce being in foul trouble.

And then there are the logistical issues, such as relocating his family to another part of the country, meshing with his new teammates, and learning the current system.

"It's a lot of things that mentally, disrupts you a little bit from focusing on the game of basketball," Lewis said. "And then you don't want to come here with a negative attitude, when you know you're going to be in the playoffs and competing for that ring, to coming here trying to make the playoffs. It's tough, especially when they're rebuilding a young team."

But it certainly helps when you have a dynamic player like John Wall, who had 16 points which included some clutch baskets in the fourth quarter to help the Wizards snap a two-game losing skid.

"He's a talented point guard; very, very young," Lewis said. "has a lot of room for improvement. But definitely talented. He's one of the best point guards in the league. He's fast; he might be the fastest point guard in the league. We're at our strength when we can get stops and get him the ball."

Washington also plays to its strengths when they can get Lewis the ball in a mismatch, which happens a lot when he's moved to the small forward position which allows him to take advantage of both his ability to score around the basket as well as from the perimeter.

"Coming up I played center, but I always liked to shoot," he told CSNNE.com. "I've always enjoyed doing both. And as I got older, I had opportunities to do both. It's working for me."

It certainly was on Saturday night, even if it was as part of a rebuilding effort and not a title chase.

"You adjust," Lewis said. "That's all it is, really. Just adjusting to what you have to do in order to help your team reach its goals."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics host the Raptors at TD Garden. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game Preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

- Live Extra FAQ: All your questions answered

- Latest on the Celtics: All of the most recent news and notes

- Talk about the game via social media on CSN's Pulse, presented by Ford

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

Celtics-Raptors preview: DeRozan, Lowry a challenge for Bradley, C's

BOSTON – Avery Bradley doesn’t mind being a standout, but this is probably not what he had in mind. 

Injuries have ravaged the Boston Celtics’ starting five to the point where only one player, Bradley, has been with the first unit in all 22 games this season. 

Just like Bradley was looked upon to step his game up in the absence of Isaiah Thomas (right groin) at Orlando on Wednesday, he will once again be challenged to lead Boston (13-9) to victory tonight when the Thomas-less Celtics face the Toronto Raptors. 

Bradley’s emergence as a two-way talent this season has overshadowed at times what has been another season of elite play defensively. 

And he’ll need to be on top of his defensive game tonight against a Raptors All-Star backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. 

Both Lowry and DeRozan present a different kind of challenge for Bradley who will spend time defending each of them at various points during the game. 

Lowry has good size, strength and deceptive quickness in addition to an under-rated perimeter game that will keep Bradley on his toes for sure. 

This season he's averaging 20.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent on 3's which is also a career mark. 

And DeRozan is having the kind of season that might get him a few league MVP votes. 

His 28.0 points per game ranks fifth in the NBA, but making his numbers even more impressive is that unlike most guards DeRozan doesn’t generate much offense from three-pointers.

DeRozan averages 1.8 three-point attempts per game which is the fewest attempts among any player ranked among the league’s top-25 scorers.

The 6-foot-7 All-Star is the master of the mid-range game which accounts for 31.5 percent of the points he scores. And when he’s not shooting the mid-range, he’s working a defender in one-on-one iso-situations. 

That helps explain why 76.4 percent of his two-point made field goals are unassisted. 

But here’s the thing about Bradley. 

As much as we give him props for what he does defensively, it’s his offense that has put him on the map as a potential All-Star this season. 

Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.9 points while shooting 47.2 percent from the field. He’s also averaging a career-high 7.8 rebounds per game in addition to shooting a career-high 40.7 percent on 3's.

But for Bradley, individual accolades are only going to come his way by the Celtics winning games; preferably against above-average teams like the Toronto Raptors.

And that would make both Bradley and the Celtics stand out this season.