Lonnie Walker entered his freshman year at Miami with a summer meniscus injury, but managed to play the whole season and average (per 40 minutes) 16.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, and 1.7 TOPG on shooting splits of 41.5/34.6/73.8. Here’s the breakdown on Walker:
Name: Lonnie Walker IV
Height/Weight: 6’4.5/ 196
Wingspan/ standing reach: 6’10/ 8’3.5
Hand size: 9.5
College/ country: Miami (FL)
Tools: Athleticism, shooting upside
- Excellent body control when attacking the basket. Able to move well in the air; glides to the basket
- Incredible athlete, especially in the open court
- Can shoot the 3 well both off the dribble and spot up- deep range
- Good ball handling skills
- High character
- Good recovery time on defense- can quickly recover from going for a steal
- Jump shot is inconsistent, partially due to shot selection
- Can be a ball stopper at times- looks for his own shot before setting up others. Takes first shot available
- Weak feel for the game and below average overall basketball IQ
- Must learn discipline on perimeter- bites on up fakes, gambles on passes. Low defensive IQ frequently
- Needs to get to the line more
- Bad decision maker in the clutch- vs UNC in ACC Tourney he fouled a player shooting a halfcourt heave to end the half and made every wrong play imaginable against Loyola-Chicago in NCAA Tournament
- Not much of a playmaker
- Mechanics look somewhat uncomfortable
- Needs to add strength
Overall: Lonnie Walker is one of the most talented players in the draft, but did not have a great freshman season. Walker has great tools with a 6’10 wingspan that will help him defend and recover on defense more easily. However, defense is likely his biggest issue for the nba. He has the tools to succeed on defense, but often displays poor discipline by constantly biting on pump fakes and gambling for steals. Whether this was a system issue, a mental obstacle to overcome from his meniscus injury over the summer, or an IQ issue, his defense is something to be cautious about. While Walker can recover well from his mistakes on defense, he’s vulnerable to making frequent mistakes on the defensive end. Walker’s overall understanding for the game is somewhat weak, which is most often displayed in pressure situations and on defense.
Offensively, Walker can adequately handle the ball, but still must improve as a playmaker. He can shoot well, but must improve his shot selection. Miami was full of shoot-first guys, which may have contributed to his underwhelming shot selection. When Walker attacks the basket, his athleticism and length help him greatly as a finisher at the rim. His jump shot mechanics need slight tweaking, as shown by his 34.6 3P% and 73.8 FT%. He also needs to learn how to be aggressive attacking the basket in a controlled manner. Lastly, Walker is a good person that won’t raise any issues in a locker room, which should allow him to easily stay in the league for a while.
Walker will benefit from an improved system from Miami, where the offense was selfish and shoot-first. Walker compares to any of the three comparisons due to his spark plug scoring impact while being a mild defender.
NBA Comparison: Jeremy Lamb/ Justin Holiday/ Rodney Hood
Fit with Mavs:
While the Mavs would need to make a trade to land Walker, Lonnie could fit with the Mavericks system due to his easily coachable character as well as him playing a position of need for the Mavericks. Walker would likely serve as a bench piece playing both wing spots early on in his career. In terms of fit with the core pieces of the franchise, the player I envision Walker developing into seems like a serviceable bench player. His future as a ball handler relies on his growth as a pick & roll ball handler, since he didn’t get a lot of opportunities in that department at Miami. If he can develop as a P&R ball handler, he could have a similar impact for the Mavericks on a winning team similar to Vince Carter during his time in Dallas. On the other hand, Walker needs a coach with patience and a coach that will teach Walker how to understand the game. His poor feel for the game limits his passing and defense, which makes him a somewhat raw player. Coach Carlisle will need to be patient if the Mavericks found a way to acquire Lonnie Walker.
Projected draft range: 14-22
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