#18 – Lonnie Walker IV – San Antonio Spurs
With the No. 18 pick in the NBA draft, the San Antonio Spurs have selected shooting guard Lonnie Walker IV out of the University of Miami.
The Spurs were granted the highest pick they’ve had since drafting Tim Duncan No. 1 in 1997, so they went for the prospect with arguably the highest scoring potential that was still on the board. Walker, who measures at 6-foot-4.5 and 196 pounds, showed the ability to put the ball in the bucket when Miami entrusted him more with the offense, which could make him a Spurs-type player.
On paper, Walker’s stats are not too impressive, as he averaged 11.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in his freshman year at South Beach, but his play on the court tells a different story. Walker did not get many opportunities to shine in the first half of his freshman year, but he flourished once Miami gave him more touches. Walker has displayed solid potential as a scorer with his ability to hit shots off the dribble as well as hesitate. This is helped by his smooth release and good footwork off screens.
Walker’s natural abilities should also make him a dependable player on the defensive end, which means that he should be a good fit in San Antonio. Walker is coming off surgery on his torn meniscus from last summer, so he may or may not be an injury risk. He also has issues with decision-making and his shot selection needs work, but who better to fix that than Gregg Popovich?
San Antonio could use someone of Walker’s abilities on the floor. The team is currently dealing with Kawhi Leonard’s recent trade demand this summer, which, if they grant it, would probably mean that they will have to rebuild this summer. Walker may not have had the hype of a lottery pick, but his skills as a scorer could build a better future should the team blow it up.
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