Lonnie Walker IV was one of the main signings of the Los Angeles Lakers in this year’s free agency, penning a one-year, $6.5 million contract with the Purple and Gold.
L.A. reportedly used its taxpayer mid-level exception to bring Walker in after Malik Monk rejected the team’s offer before moving to the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers lost a significant part of their offense with Monk’s departure, meaning they will expect Walker to step up on the offensive end of the floor.
And the 6-foot-4 shooting guard understands the Purple and Gold will rely on his shot next season. “Of course, this is a lot different from San Antonio, but I got to play with a fairly great player as far as DeMar DeRozan and that’s someone that has really helped me kinda be a little bit more comfortable with this position,” he said at his introductory press conference.
“There’s times where he always found me or everyone’s focused on him I’m in the corner he passing or whatnot and I’m ready to catch and shoot. I know what I need to do and I know what I gotta continue to improve on. So I’m just ready for once the clock really starts ticking.”
Walker shot a respectable 36.9% from downtown in his first three years with the Spurs. However, that number dropped to 31.4% in 2021-22 — although the 23-year-old’s aim improved in the second part of the campaign after he put in extra work in the gym.
But Walker advises those who will guard him next season not to leave him too much space to shoot. “I mean, last year you can look at the percentages but I kid you not, leave me open and we gonna see what happens,” he said.
“Going into the season I’m just, day in and day out I’m in the gym. I’m waking up at 6 a.m. to get my first workout in and I’m back at 11 to get my second one and in between, I’m lifting so I’m getting about three workouts in before 1 o’clock.
“I’m honing into what I gotta get better on and I’m not just strengthening my weaknesses, but I’m strengthening my strengths as well. I’m ready to show everyone what I’m about.”
Magic Johnson praises Walker & other Lakers signing
Lakers legend Magic Johnson has given his stamp of approval for the summer business L.A. conducted this year.
“I love Lonnie Walker because he’s big, strong, and athletic. The Lakers also made some great additions to the roster with Troy Brown Jr., Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Damian Jones!” he recently tweeted.
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