Lakers Season Preview: Can Lonnie Walker IV grow his game?

Welcome to our Lakers Season Preview Series! For the following a number of weeks, we’ll be writing columns each and every weekday, breaking down the largest questions we have now about each and every participant the Lakers added this offseason. Today, we check out Lonnie Walker IV.

After purging all however two gamers from their 2020 Championship-winning roster, and returning simply 5 from final season, the Lakers will input the 2022-23 season with some other roster that has extra new gamers than returners. Through unfastened company and one industry, they restocked their intensity within the entrance and backcourts, however have maintained a relative deficit of veritable participants on the wing, sharply contrasting with the roster they rolled into 2019-20 with.

In pageant for the ones mins are a trio of unfastened agent signings having a look to go beyond their standing as low-minute mop-up males. Despite his presence at the reigning champs, Juan Toscano-Anderson’s function at the Warriors was once restricted to nearly solely rubbish time all over the playoffs. Troy Brown Jr. spent his season matched up in opposition to opposing 2nd devices on a simply above .500 Bulls crew. And in the end, Lonnie Walker IV noticed his mins differ all over his fourth NBA season, all at the Spurs, as he struggled to polish among Gregg Popovich’s liked kids.

Watching Lonnie Walker IV play for the Spurs was once a irritating revel in.

In one second, he’d do one thing that may give a viewer reason why to imagine he was once sure for perennial superstardom prior to nearly disappearing for dozens of mins at a time. If the Lakers can extract and construct upon what makes him glance so particular from time to time, they could have a better-than-average function participant on their arms this season, or perhaps a new child Laker to construct round if he displays some main strides and so they make a decision to re-up with him this offseason.

What is his best-case situation?

As a cast self-creator and above-average finisher across the rim, the Lakers’ sole unfastened agent signing of this offseason for above the veteran’s minimal can be perfect served via taking over a playmaking function off the bench, serving to pressure offense in opposition to opposing groups’ lesser defenders. And at simply 23 years outdated, the Lakers and Walker each have to pray that he’s simplest scratched the outside of the place he’s headed as an athlete and basketball participant. Some paintings with ability construction guru Phil Handy may just move far in opposition to using extra of Walker’s elite athletic items than he has thus far in his occupation.

Also, LeBron James might be able to weaponize Walker’s verticality via his preternatural courtroom consciousness and precision passing in some way Walker’s Spurs teammates by no means may just, growing simple appears to be like for Walker on the rim and past the arc. If they may be able to increase a an identical chemistry to the only LeBron constructed with Malik Monk final season, Walker may just stay himself related via offering a burst of quick offense off the bench.

Last season, Walker shot simply 31.4% on threes, however had by no means shot underneath 35.5% in his 3 prior campaigns. The Lakers will want him to be a competent danger from downtown to be able to take care of optimum spacing to take advantage of out of the league’s maximum potent inside danger in LeBron and Anthony Davis. An insignificant go back to customary for Walker can be just right sufficient to stay defenses truthful and stay him playable, although an development in opposition to reliable marksmanship would indisputably be a welcome boost to the roster.

What is his worst-case situation?

The catch that includes Walker’s admittedly electrical spotlight reel of high-flying dunks and clean step-backs is almost about the entirety that occurs in between.

In each and every of his 4 complete NBA seasons, Walker registered an F-grade in LEBRON (a catchall have an effect on metric that appears at offense, protection, and the entirety in between from the parents on the BBall Index). His mixture of athletic upside and age supply abundant reason why for upside, however he’s by no means been a actually just right participant all over his NBA occupation thus far.

Aside from his cast completing and streaky taking pictures, Walker hasn’t been ready to give a contribution in a significant means in some other space of the sport. He’s an terrible defender, rebounder, and mediocre playmaker, leaving an ocean between what he’s proven as a Spur and being a competent contributor on a successful basketball crew.

The worst-case situation for Walker is that he displays no indicators of substantive development early on within the season and spends the remainder of the 12 months at the bench.

The worst-case situation for the Lakers is that he displays no indicators of substantive development, however the crew feels obligated to proceed feeding its latest Klutch Klient and midlevel exception signee main mins in spite of a mountain of proof of his overwhelming ineptitude.

What is his perhaps function at the crew?

With Talen Horton-Tucker long past (however no longer forgotten), Walker will be first in line for any and all on-ball developmental reps the Lakers can hand out within the much less significant moments of video games. Even if the crew is as aggressive because it hopes to be, there will probably be probabilities when video games get out of hand for Walker to visit paintings and blow their own horns no matter he’s labored in this summer season.

If he shines, he might creep in opposition to the highest part of the rotation and contend for a handful of shifts according to sport. Realistically, Walker will most likely fit in because the rotation’s 7th or 8th guy, getting kind of run depending on how he appears to be like on any given evening.

But with actual upside and the perspective of responsibility he’s demonstrated as a Laker, there’s a small likelihood the membership’s discovered a diamond within the tough in Lonnie Walker IV.

Cooper is a lifelong Laker fan who has additionally lined the Yankees at SB Nation’s Pinstripe Alley — no, he’s no longer additionally a Cowboys fan. You can pay attention him at the Lakers Multiverse Podcast and to find him on Twitter at @cooperhalpern.

Leave a Comment