Ryan Knaus breaks down Lonnie Walker IV's strong start to the year and explains why there still could be more untapped upside in his rest-of-season outlook.
RYAN KNAUS: Lonnie Walker IV has been a Ray of sunshine during an otherwise dreary season for the Lakers. After signing a 1 year deal this offseason, he has erupted for career highs 16.3 points on solid percentages with 1.8 triples, 1.3 steals, and 0.9 blocks. Those defensive numbers are gold because they've helped mask mediocre rebounds in assists, both of which are at career low levels on a permanent basis. Fortunately, the Lakers roster construction all but demands that Walker continue to start and play with a green light offensively.
It's not clear that we've seen his ceiling yet either. He's averaging 32 minutes per game with 20% usage and he's shooting just 31% from deep. All of those numbers could come up, particularly the 3-point efficiency. In fact, Walker has had a defender no closer than 4-feet from him on 58% of his shot attempts this season, but only 36% of those have gone in.
The Lakers need his rim attacks, they need his perimeter shooting, they need his athleticism and downhill style of play. The only threat on the horizon is a potential deal with Indiana that might bring Buddy Hield to the Lakers, but for now, that's all speculative. Just pick up Walker if he's still available and enjoy his top 100 production with upside.