Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why Marcus Lewis may be the X-factor tonight

Before the 66ers resigned Chris Richard earlier today, the biggest question heading into tonight's West Conference showdown was ... How would the 66ers slow down the rebounding machine known as Dwayne Jones, who is averaging a league-high 15.1 boards per game for the Austin Toros?

On the surface, Jones' trip into Tulsa tonight seems to come at a bad time for the 66ers. Oklahoma City has recalled both Byron Mullens and D.J. White (both big men who were averaging double digits in rebounds) so the two biggest Tulsa guns are now in Oklahoma City.

After practice yesterday, I sat down with Tulsa head coach Nate Tibbetts and asked him how he planned to account for Jones. He mentioned two names ... Steven Hill and Marcus Lewis. Now granted, things have changed dramatically since yesterday. Richard was signed and Hill has been released because of an injury, but Lewis is still there ... and an enigma in some ways.

The rookie out of Oral Roberts hasn't seen much playing time lately. At the D-League Showcase, Lewis didn't play against Utah and saw just three minutes of court time against Albuquerque (where he posted no points and one rebound). He played a combined 22 minutes in the two wins to start the calendar year against Sioux Falls, meaning he's averaging a little more than six minutes per game in 2010. Yet, on Wednesday, Tibbetts spoke very highly of Lewis and his chances to make a difference against Austin.

"He's prepared himself for games like this by working hard in practice," Tibbetts said. "He's a tough guy and he works hard every day to get better. Sometimes rookies don't get a lot of playing time in this league, but he's one of the guys who'll be given a chance to step up against Austin."

Lewis, Richard, and Latavious Williams will have their hands full against Jones, who has a knack for getting on the boards. If Lewis can help to neutralize Jones or at least control him, it'll be his biggest contribution of the season thus far.

No comments:

Post a Comment