Prospect Preview: Lonnie Walker IV
LONNIE WALKER IV, G, MIAMI
Wt: 204 pounds
2017-18 Stats: 11.5 ppg, 2.6 apg, 1.9 rpg
HOW HE OPERATES
One of the more intriguing prospects in the draft is a physically gifted shooting guard out of Miami, Lonnie Walker IV.
He was the first freshman to lead a Miami team in scoring in 17 years. He was named honorable mention All-ACC, ACC All-Freshman team, and he was an All-ACC Academic selection as well. With a 40-inch vertical leap, Walker IV is one of the most athletic players in the draft, and with a 6-10 wingspan, he is one of the longest players in the draft. And with an offensive skillset featuring the ability to break down seemingly any defender, Walker IV projects to be a formidable scorer in the NBA.
Walker is solidly built with good speed in the open court and can get to the rim with a crafty handle that will improve even more as time goes on. He’s at his best in transition, and in slashing and cutting to the rim. He has to improve in shooting of all kinds, but it looks more like from a concentration standpoint than anything else. He made just 34 percent of his spot up attempts and 32 percent of his total jump shots. He has the building blocks of being a good 3-point shooter, however, and made 34 percent from the arc. As his shooting overall improves, he should see a spike in his 3-point percentage as well. At this point, Walker is purely a scorer and will work on increasing his rebounding and playmaking for others.
On defense, Walker looks to have good feet and lateral movement. He’s no stranger to picking the ball up high on the court and applying pressure to the ball handler. Walker had a lot of good moments of guarding in space during the season. He did give up a good number of drives to the basket, which were more a matter of technique and can be worked on. He’ll also continue to work on his footspeed, which will help as well.
Walker shows good effort getting through screens. His 30 steals tied for second on the team. This is a high-energy defender – which is hard to teach – who will only get better with time.
HIS BEST FIT
Initially, Walker IV’s best fit is with a team where he can play off the ball, run off screens and catch the ball in space. That team should have an established point guard or a decision-maker they like in the long term as well. He’ll add playmaking in the future, but a team that is in need of scoring now and in the future is the ideal team for Walker IV.
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter