Despite being a starter and one of the Los Angeles Lakers’ best players in the first half of the season, Lonnie Walker IV has found himself out of the rotation since the trade deadline.
But due to injuries to LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell, Walker got some minutes on Friday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder and came up big in one of the most important games of the season.
Walker played 24 minutes off the bench and finished with 20 points to go along with four rebounds and three steals.
Going from being out of the rotation to having that type of performance certainly isn’t easy, and Walker discussed his mindset over the last few weeks.
“Just being even keel,” Walker said. “Understanding that works not done. God has my back and understanding that whether it’s now or later, it’s all going to come back in the right timing. Every day I’ve just been in the gym. Being positive. Understanding what we’re trying to accomplish and just staying ready. And have great people like Chris Gent that I talk to almost every other day when I have my ups and downs. My teammates have made me not being able to play much easier. I love these guys and I’m happy to be playing with them. Just taking it day to day. That’s all I can do and control the controllables.”
Walker is only 24 years of age, but he has displayed tremendous maturity this season, not complaining about his role despite it admittedly not being what he’d like.
He also talked about why that is and how his confidence in himself has never wavered.
“Just growth. Watching film day in and day out. Seeing what AR is doing, Malik [Beasley] is doing, DLo is doing. Watching other guards and seeing what’s beneficial on the court for the team and doing what’s best for the team. And most importantly, keeping the confidence.
“That’s something that I’ve kept and honing in on. Just understanding my value the type of player that I’m capable of doing. I’m 24 years old and the best is yet to come.”
It remains to be seen how long James and Russell will be out, so Walker could continue getting opportunities in L.A.’s rotation, especially after how well he played against the Thunder.
Walker explains how Lakers have developed chemistry so quickly
Despite remodeling their roster at the deadline, the Lakers have been able to bond quickly as a group and develop chemistry both on and off the floor. Walker explained how that has been able to happen in such a short amount of time.
“I would say just the togetherness off the court. We haven’t really known each other for too long but when we’re at the facility or on the road, you know a lot of us are hanging out with each other going out to eat. Hanging out with each other and watching TV. Wherever it so be. I think that is the main tool of it all. Being comfortable with your teammates.
“Off the court, it only transitions on the court to be able to play and have fun and watching everyone eat together. It puts a smile on your face watching other people accomplish and achieve things as well.”
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