Lonnie Walker IV is proving to be an underrated offseason signing, thriving in his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers used their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Walker in the summer. Many thought of the move as underwhelming with other teams striking MLE deals with the likes of Danilo Gallinari, Donte DiVincenzo, John Wall or Bruce Brown.
But Walker is proving his doubters wrong, averaging 16.6 points and 1.0 steals per game (both career-highs) in addition to 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists. With the Lakers coming out of their early-season shooting slump, the former San Antonio Spurs prospect has also been shooting 51.5% for 3 on 4.7 3-point attempts per game in the last six games.
Walker says he has been feeling “confident” on the offensive end, adding his Purple and Gold teammates deserve credit for his fine recent form. “When you got great teammates who are continuing to instill that confidence and allow you to be aggressive, it only makes the game easier,” the 23-year-old shooting guard said.
“And when you have three Hall of Famers, two Hall of Famers that are playing with us at the moment — like I said before the season started, it’s all about just knocking down the easy open shots. So I’m just playing my game.
“I think the world is finally noticing what I’m capable of doing. I’m just doing what I do best.”
Three of the Lakers’ incoming four games will come against the Spurs. However, Walker says his mindset won’t change in matchups against his former team.
“Like we’ve been handling everything — one game at a time, one step at a time, and continue to stack your days,” the guard says when asked how he will handle facing San Antonio for the first time.
“Every single day we have to make the best of our opportunity to the best of our capability and continue to grow. We want to get above .500.”
Austin Reaves says ‘belief is high’ in Lakers’ locker room
Walker doesn’t seem to be the only Laker feeling confident after winning back-to-back games, even if L.A. still owns a poor 4-10 record. Austin Reaves has said the Purple and Gold believe in their abilities, particularly as the team appears to be coming together after a difficult first month of the 2022-23 season.
“Like I’ve said many times, you know, we’re very new team to each other,” Reaves says. “So it’s going to take a little bit of time to get used to playing with one another.
“But yeah, the belief is high. I mean, you’re seeing tonight, the way we score the ball, you see six in double figures. There’s a lot of people on the team that can win us basketball games.”
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