Rashard Lewis says you can expect a whole new him next year

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Rashard Lewis has become the  standard punchline for any joke about bad long-term contracts. He was paid back when he was an elite scorer in Seattle (you know, back when Seattle had a team), then was converted in the Magic system to be their perimeter trigger. He stopped working in the post or on the drive and was primarily used as only a spot-up shooter, and last season his huge deal was swapped for Gilbert Arenas’ huge deal (Lewis is still with the Wizards).

Hoopsworld caught up with Lewis in Las Vegas at the Impact Basketball events this week and Lewis says he’s working to get back to being a true versatile weapon.

“I’m trying to get away from being just a spot-up shooter,” Lewis told HOOPSWORLD. “My whole goal is to get back to attacking the basket, posting up and being a small forward like I was in Seattle. I’m not complaining about being a spot-up shooter in Orlando because it was great and I’ll do anything for the team to help win games. That’s how we won ball games, by spreading the floor and having Dwight [Howard] inside. Now, for me, I have to get back to being aggressive and attacking the basket as well as shooting the three.”

via NBA Saturday: Telfair Excited For Free Agency | HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors.

Lewis is 32 and has battled a myriad of injuries the last few years. So his ability to work in the post is questionable at best, much less work from the perimeter on drives. Still, with the extra time off from the lockout, it’s possible Lewis could surprise in Washington. Even if he can provide anything, he’ll still get comments about his contract. But as Lewis told J.A. Adande, it’s not like the players negotiate those contracts. The fact that Lewis is engaged, working out, talking about being a leader and trying to contribute says a lot about his character. He’s not just coasting out the rest of his career, even if he is overpaid.