Lakers News: Lonnie Walker IV Proud He Could Show Capabilities In Warriors Series After Being Out Of Rotation
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the truly amazing stories for the Los Angeles Lakers this season was that of Lonnie Walker IV. A starter and one of the team’s leading scorers early in the year, Walker was sidelined with knee tendinitis in December, keeping him out for almost a month.

Not long after he returned to the lineup, the Lakers swung a huge deal at the trade deadline to bring in D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt. That deal, coupled with the ascent of guard Austin Reaves, suddenly forced Walker out of the rotation.

But with players struggling mightily in the postseason, head coach Darvin Ham turned to Walker in a crucial Game 4 of the Lakers’ second-round series with the Golden State Warriors and the guard responded with 15 points in the fourth quarter of a Lakers win. It was a performance which Walker believes showed what he is all about.

“I think it showed my capabilities,” Walker said during his exit interview. “Even in the beginning of the season I had a flow, I had a rhythm. So to not be able to play for a month and a half, two months and get back to playing against last year’s championship team and playing against Steph [Curry] and Klay [Thompson], Hall of Famers, and playing alongside LeBron and AD and show that I’m capable of making an impact in one of the most important moments of my life. I think it shows just keep it up, just keep going. Just the tip of the iceberg.”

It would be easy for a lot of players to check out after suddenly not getting regular minutes despite being a starter for the beginning part of the year. But Walker stayed locked in and focused so that when he got his opportunity he was able to deliver on the biggest stage when the Lakers needed him most.

It showed not only his skill, but also his mental toughness that he was able to come through in the playoffs in such a big way. Still just 24 years old, there remains a lot of potential for Walker to grow into an even greater player in the NBA.

Lakers’ Lonnie Walker IV expected to receive contract in $4-7 million range this offseason

The question for Walker now is whether he will continue that growth in a Lakers uniform or is he will move on elsewhere. His season was filled with ups and downs, but Walker delivered when it mattered most and that could very well increase his value.

Recent reports suggest Walker could command a contract at around $4-7 million per year this summer, but it is unclear if that will come from Los Angeles or another team. Walker surely wants to be somewhere that he can play a big role and show off his talents. That could be as a Laker, but he might feel it is in his best interest to move on.

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