Best Off-Season Pickup: Lonnie Walker IV?
General manager Rob Pelinka has been scrutinized during his tenure as the Lakers quickly turned from a championship team in 2020 to missing the playoffs in 2022.
Los Angeles is in the playoff hunt this season but has yet to put it together consistently. They sit at 11-15, putting them in 12th place in the Western Conference, but only three and a half games out of the 6th seed.
Lonnie Walker IV was a great offseason addition by Pelinka and the front office. Los Angeles signed him using their mid-level exception, which was a tremendous move.
andddddd ANOTHER ONE 😈— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) December 10, 2022
This time from Lonnie 🔥 pic.twitter.com/xhWCNwAcBM
Walker is having a breakout campaign for the Lakeshow, putting up career numbers and thriving.
He is averaging 16/2/2 while shooting 47.8% from the field and 39% from three. His improvement from behind the arc has been crucial for the Lakers, as they rank 28th in the league in three-point percentage.
LONNIE SKYWALKER ALERT 🚨 pic.twitter.com/LmKGW6gRy1— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) December 10, 2022
Walker doesn’t operate exclusively at the three-point line, as he seems to have a highlight dunk in nearly every game. He has even been given the nickname Lonnie “Skywalker” with the constant dunks.
An underrated part of Walker’s game is his defense. He has been a two-player, often taking on one of the opposing team's top wings.
Lonnie Walker leads the entire NBA in points per touch (0.49). Making the most of every opportunity. Electric in transition—16th in volume and great efficiency (1.15 ppp). Career high PPG (16.0), 3P% (39%), MPG (30.7)— NBA University (@NBA_University) December 13, 2022
Playing with confidence & having a quiet breakout. Props… pic.twitter.com/CzKyarx60o
Walker’s play on both ends of the floor has made him one of the Lakers' best players. He has been their third-leading scorer behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The Lakers had Malik Monk in a similar role last season before losing him in free agency to the Sacramento Kings. Walker has not only filled that role for LA, but he has been a more consistent player than Monk was last season. He is also way better defensively, making him an all-around better and more consistent player.
Walker has been a phenomenal acquisition for the Lakers and will continue to be a key contributor for LA. The Lakers have lost a ton of their young talent over the years, so signing a 23-year-old guard that is on the rise is just what they needed.
Hopefully, Pelinka and the front office can keep Walker in a Laker uniform long-term.