Lonnie Walker Is Ready To Run
This piece does not reflect the views of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Freshman, G, Miami, 6,4”, 196 lbs
College Stats in 2017-18:
32 games, 18 starts, 27.8 MPG, 11.5 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.9 SPG, 41.5 FG%, 34.6 3P%, 73.8 FT%
ACC All-Freshman Team
Where he’ll go:
Walker projects as a mid first-round pick.
He’ll admit that he was limited in his freshman year after undergoing meniscus knee surgery the offseason before. Even with that, Walker had plenty of moments for the Hurricanes, scoring 20 or more points three times, including a 25-point performance against Louisville on Jan. 24.
This is a player who has a 6’10” wingspan and has all of the athletic abilities to be a very good defender at the next level. Experts have questioned his effort level at times, but that’s a pretty tough thing to diagnose since we weren’t on the court with Walker or in the locker room. And who knows how that knee injury impacted Walker’s performance as a freshman.
Walker looks like he has the ability to become an above-average shooter, but in the NBA, he’ll need to do so at a more efficient level. His shooting form is solid. He shot more than five 3-pointers per game as a freshman and shot a so-so 34.6 percent from deep. What’s concerning is his 41.5 percent from the field which probably screams shot selection more than anything.
He didn’t take part in any Combine shooting drill, which probably tells us that he thinks he’s proven enough on his shot to NBA executives.
Things to work on for Walker is his ball handling, creating his own shot and continuing to find ways to get others involved. Sometimes it seems like he has blinders on and misses open teammates. His overall feel for the game leaves some to be desired.
“Never being content with where I am and where I continue to be,” Walker said when working on his game at the Combine in Chicago. “I started off slow. As the season started to progress, I got better. I feel like I’m one of the hardest workers in this draft class.”
Walker is certainly one of the more unique players in the draft. He speaks in third person at times and when he’s not working on his game he’s “nine time out of 10” trying to “discover the world.” His favorite channels are the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. He’s also big into conspiracy.
Personality wise, he reminds me a bit of Willie Cauley-Stein from the 2015 Draft. His life is more than basketball, which is a refreshing thing to hear.
It seems like this is a boom or bust pick. For Walker to be a solid NBA player, he’ll need his game to come together. The good news is that the pieces seem to be there.