Thoughts on Maxwell Lewis, Drew Timme, and Julian Strawther

January 30th, 2023

By Alan Lu

Maxwell Lewis is an athletic, sharpshooting wing player that has been skyrocketing up draft boards, and he’s been mentioned as a possible lottery pick lately, despite playing for a middling mid-major team that does not seem to have any games on national television.  I wanted to know more about Lewis, so I decided to take the time to watch him play in a December 31st West Coast Conference basketball game against Gonzaga, with thanks to YouTube via Vanno – Basketball Network.  Lewis turned in a good showing, and he was able to make some terrific plays in this contest, but he also ran into some early foul trouble.  Meanwhile, Drew Timme put forth another tremendous showing to lead his team to a double-digit win over Pepperdine, and potential future first round pick, Julian Strawther also played very well in addition.  Here are my thoughts on how Lewis, Timme, and other various prospects fared in this match, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

Pepperdine’s Maxwell Lewis scored 20 points on 9 of 14 shooting, made 2 threes, and he also had 5 assists and 5 rebounds in his team’s loss to Gonzaga.
(Photo:
Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

Pepperdine’s sophomore swingman, Maxwell Lewis put forth a solid performance in his team’s loss to Gonzaga.  He is an agile, skilled swingman that excels at moving off the ball to score on offense, and he also can shoot it from deep.  He is a versatile player that may have a good deal of upside, and he showed that he can make shots effortlessly on the court.

Lewis thrived at scoring on quick, backdoor cuts to the hoop.  He can make swift backdoor cuts to take advantage of defenders that would take their eyes off him, and he was able to score on a couple of high-flying dunks. 

He didn’t always look to take outside shots, but he showed off a solid jumper in this game.  Lewis was able to knock down a corner three off the catch, and he also made a smooth, step-back three another time.  On the other hand, he struggled to consistently knock down mid-range jumpers off the dribble, and he would sometimes take rushed, off-balanced jumpers that would lead to misses.

Plus, he also can ably score out of the post as well as off the dribble.  Lewis has surprisingly good strength for a player his size, and he would score on strong, turnaround jumpers.  He also handles the ball well, and he has good speed, balance, and body control that enables him to get past his man and finish plays around the basket.  He also was able to score on an acrobatic, reverse layup midway through this match.  However, he also can have some trouble creating separation from his man at times, and when crowded, it could lead him to commit some ball-handling turnovers. 

He also showcased adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Lewis can make some very good passes when he plays patiently, and he can throw accurate interior passes to find his teammates on the move to rack up assists.  He can throw timely touch passes to find the open man, and he is an unselfish player that will get his teammates the basketball.  He also set an off-ball screen that helped his teammate get open for a mid-range jump shot that resulted in a score.  However, Lewis also was quite turnover prone in this game.  He had trouble consistently creating his own shot off the dribble, and he would sometimes commit ball-handling turnovers when crowded or pressured.  Other times, he would play too fast and out of control with the ball in his hands.  On a couple of instances, he would throw rushed, interior passes that would sail out of bounds, and he also threw a weak shovel pass that got intercepted another time.

Plus, Lewis also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was active at crashing the glass to get offensive boards, and he also pushed the ball up the floor off of a defensive rebound once.  Defensively, he looked to be about average.  For the positives, he is a rangy defender whose solid blend of length and athleticism can enable him to get steals and stops, especially when he is in position to do so.  On one good play, he used his long arms to poke a ball away from an opposing ball handler to himself to get a steal.  He also defend an opposing ball handler near a sideline, and he helped funnel and steer his man towards the sideline to help force a ball-handling turnover due to solid length and positioning that time.  However, he would sometimes struggle stay in front of opposing ball handlers or to defend in screen situations, and he can tend to be late on his rotations.  Sometimes he would commit reach-in fouls as a result, and other times he would allow opponents to score on three-point shots.  In this game, Lewis tended to pick up quick fouls, which hurt his ability to stay on the floor in the first half, and caused him to run into some early foul trouble.

In summary, Maxwell Lewis had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Gonzaga.  He is an athletic swingman that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he is an unselfish player that at times passed and defended well.  On the other hand, he was also too turnover prone, as he wasn’t always inaccurate with his passes nor was always able to create separation off the dribble, and he also struggled a bit more defensively than he should have in this game.  Still, Lewis is a solid prospect that can both knock down outside shots and score on off-ball, motion plays, and his ability to do both combined with his potential to develop into a solid all-around player for the next level could make him an intriguing candidate for the late lottery in the 2023 draft.

Drew Timme scored 35 points, and had 10 rebounds and 5 assists, and he was dominant in Gonzaga’s blowout win over Pepperdine.
(Photo:
Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

Drew Timme put forth another excellent performance to lead his team to a double-digit win over Pepperdine.  He is one of the best, most productive players in college basketball, and he did a terrific job of making shots and passes to get his team another victory.

Timme did a terrific job of scoring in the post.  He is a crafty scorer that showed off very good footwork, strength, scoring touch, and balance to consistently score around the basket.  He would score consistently on crafty, step-through leaners, and he also was able to score on a fadeaway jumper while getting fouled.  He can score on running hook shots, and he also threw down a powerful dunk early on.  Plus, Timme also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He was able to score on a tip-in off of an offensive rebound.  He also scored on a backdoor cut while getting fouled another time.  Sometimes though, he wouldn’t always get enough lift on his shot, and he had a couple of them get blocked late in this match.

He also shot the ball well from the outside.  Timme was able to knock down an open, spot-up three off the catch to showcase his long-rage shooting skills.  He showed off a solid face-up game, and he can use either hand to score off the dribble.  He is a crafty player that has a good shot fake, and he has great balance that enables him to score, as he was able to score on a really nifty, fallaway layup once. 

He also showcased solid playmaking skills.  Timme is an unselfish player that would find the open man to get assists.  He would push the pace off of defensive rebounds and find open teammates ahead on the break to notch assists.  He also can pass out of the post and off the dribble to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  On one play though, he over-dribbled as he was too aggressive in driving to the hoop in transition, which led him to commit a charging foul that time.

Plus, Timme also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He was able to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and he would sometimes push the ball quickly up the floor off of defensive rebounds.  Also, Timme played satisfactory defense in this game.  He was able to intercept an errant pass to get a steal.  He also was able to stay in front of an opposing ball handler when defending out on the perimeter, and he contested the shot to force a miss.  He did a good job of contesting shots both out on the perimeter and in the paint, which enabled him to get plenty of stops for his team.  Sometimes though, he wouldn’t effectively communicate to his teammates in screen situations, which would lead his team to end up in compromised situations.  Sometimes he would be late on his rotations, and he would end up allowing his man to get easy catches and scores around the basket.

In general, Drew Timme had another tremendous showing to lead Gonzaga to a double-digit win over Pepperdine.  He is a very skilled center that thrives at making plays in the post, especially on offense.  He is one of the best low post scorers in college basketball.  On the other hand, it’s unclear how much of his game will translate to the NBA.  The NBA game is played at a much faster pace, and they have seemed to go further away from post-ups in recent years.  Timme is a decent, but not an elite athlete, and in today’s modern NBA, he may have to rely considerably more on his perimeter skills at the NBA level.  Still, it’s undeniable that Timme has put forth very strong production, and he is a high IQ basketball player that could be a very good pick for an NBA team in the second round of the 2023 draft.

Julian Strawther put forth a strong showing in his team’s win over Pepperdine.  He shot the ball well early and often, and he is a sharpshooting forward that thrived at spacing the floor for his team on offense. Strawther shot the ball very well, especially from downtown.  He did a great job of making spot-up threes, and he has a lot of range on his shot.  He also was able to dribble off of a screen to knock down a pull-up, three.  Strawther is a very good shooter that can shoot it from deep, and he would often make his opponents pay for giving him ample time and space to get his shot off.

He also showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  Strawther is a better athlete than advertised, and he excelled at scoring on fast breaks.  He ran the floor and caught a lob pass to score on a strong, alley-oop dunk off of a give and go.  He also ran the floor and managed to score on a high-flying dunk another time.  He also displayed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  Strawther tended to favor going to his right, but he showed that he can score when using either hand.  On one play, he was able to go hard to his right to score and get fouled simultaneously.  He also was able to go to his left to score on a quick, fadeaway jumper.

Also, Strawther displayed solid playmaking skills.  He can make swift, accurate passes on the move, and he would throw timely interior passes to set up scores for his teammates.  He also took very good care of the basketball, and he did not commit a single turnover in this game.

He also was able to chase down balls to get his fair share of defensive boards when he was on the court.  Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  For the positives, Strawther would poke balls and deflect passes to get deflections, and he also was able to jump on a loose ball to get a steal once.  He would sometimes take good angles when defending opposing ball handlers, and he would use his length and positioning to contest shots to force misses.  However, sometimes he would play way too aggressively on the defensive end.  He would sometimes over-rotate and whiff on steal attempts, which would lead him to be out of position and cause his team to be put in scramble situations.  He also would sometimes have trouble guarding more athletic players, as he would sometimes get beat off the dribble, or get outmuscled when defending in the post, which would lead him to allow scores.

Overall, Julian Strawther is an agile, skilled forward that can shoot and score the basketball, and he was able to make some surprisingly athletic plays in this game.  He will still need to improve on the defensive end, but his ability to make shots and plays on the offensive end could enable him to go in the late first to the second round range in the 2023 draft.

Gonzaga’s 6-4 senior, Malachi Smith is a strong, fairly athletic combo guard that turned in a strong showing in his team’s win over Pepperdine.  He is a fairly athletic scorer that can make shots in a variety of ways, and he also defended very well when he was on the court.

He showed a knack for dribbling to his left to score on smooth, pull-up threes, and he was able to make one from way out.  He also showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble, and he generally excelled at scoring on drives in transition.  On the downside, he struggled more when taking pull-up, mid-range jumpers, and he missed a couple of shots in that area.

He showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  Smith was able to throw a good interior pass to set up a score for a teammate around the basket.  Sometimes though, he can be too careless with the ball in his hands, which can lead him to commit turnovers.  He lost the ball when handling it once.  He also was called for a clear out when driving to the hoop on the break that led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover another time.

Plus, he also did a decent job of getting defensive boards, and Smith would tend to push the pace off of defensive rebounds.  He also played terrific defense in this game.  Smith would jump on loose balls to help his team get steals.  He also has good strength that enables him to hold position when defending in the post, and he would contest shots both out on the perimeter and in the paint to get stops for his team.

Overall, Malachi Smith played very well, and he especially thrived as a shooter, scorer, and defender in this game.  The former Chattanooga guard had a very good showing in his team’s win over Pepperdine, and he is an energetic combo guard that may have what it takes to make it to the NBA someday.

Mike Mitchell Jr. had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Gonzaga.  He is a mobile, skilled playmaker that showed off satisfactory shooting and playmaking skills, and he is a solid rebounder for his size.  He’s not the most athletic point guard by any means, but he is a crafty player that can make shots and run the team with the ball in his hands.

Mitchell shot the ball well, especially from the outside.  He did a good job of making three-pointers, as he played patiently and with poise to be able to knock them down.  He also excelled at dribbling to his left to score on a series of mid-range jumpers off the dribble, and he looked to be quite comfortable in knocking down shots from that range.  He struggled more when he would look to go all the way to score when driving to the hoop, as he is not a very explosive guard and doesn’t possess elite size or speed, which can make it difficult for him to consistently score on drives to the rim, especially in traffic.

He also showcased decent playmaking skills.  Mitchell is an unselfish player that can find open teammates in stride, and he can throw long, accurate passes to get his teammates the basketball.  Sometimes though, he can throw inaccurate passes that would go astray, and he also telegraphed a pass that got intercepted another time.  On another play when handling the ball, he carelessly lost his balance and the ball that led him to turn the ball over.

Also, Mitchell did a solid job of rebounding the basketball, and sometimes he would push the pace off of defensive boards.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  For the positives, he would jump on loose balls to help his team get steals, and he also rotated to help force a ball-handling turnover another time.  Mitchell will play passing lanes, and he also was able to contest a corner three to force a miss.  On the other hand, sometimes he would over-help in the paint and be caught ball watching, which would cause him to lose track of his man on backdoor cuts.  He also would struggle to defend quicker players, and sometimes he would get beat off the dribble to allow scores.

Overall, Mitchell is a skilled point guard that can shoot, score, and run the team with the ball in his hands.  He turned in a fairly solid showing, but he will need to improve his defense in the meantime.  He’ll need to show that he can consistently play well and guard upper-echelon opponents against top-notch competition, but he is a smart, cerebral playmaker making his way to the NBA someday, especially if he continues to work hard to hone his overall game.

Pepperdine’s 6-11 freshman forward, Jevon Porter had his ups and downs in team’s loss to Gonzaga.  He is a younger brother of Denver Nuggets’ forward, Michael Porter Jr., and some of the recruiting services rated Jevon Porter as a four-star prospect for college basketball.

He is an agile, skilled big man that seemed to be much further along on offense.  Porter is a versatile, skilled scorer that can score in the post as well as off the dribble, and he can also score on the move.  He showed touch that extended to the mid-range, but he was unable to make a three-pointer in this game.  He also showcased satisfactory playmaking skills, and Porter can pass and handle the basketball.  On one play though, he tried to clear out on a drive, but ended up losing the ball that led him to commit a turnover.

He also did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  However, there was one play where he didn’t box out, and his team allowed an opponent to score on a tip-in.  Defensively though, he struggled.  For the positives, he showed some promise on this end, and when defending in the post, he was able to recover on the play, which enabled him to block the shot to himself.  He also rotated to contest a mid-range shot to force a miss, and he can play with vertically to get some stops.  However, Porter tended to get outmuscled when defending in the post, and he would give up deep position and allow scores around the basket.  He also would be late on his rotations and tended to sag too far when defending in screens on switches, which would lead his team to allow opponents to score on outside shots. 

Overall, Porter is a skilled big man that can ably score out of the post and off the dribble, but he will need to improve his rebounding and defense in the meantime.  Still, he is a versatile scorer that could be an intriguing prospect if he can add a consistent three-point shot to his arsenal, and if he can improve significantly on the defensive end.  He’ll likely need more time to stay in school, but he could be a legitimate NBA draft prospect down the road, especially if he continues to work hard to hone his overall game.

All in all, those are my thoughts on how Maxwell Lewis, Drew Timme, and other various prospects fared in the Gonzaga-Pepperdine game on December 31st.  Thanks for reading.

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