The roster of the Los Angeles Lakers has come under a lot of scrutiny as it feels like the team just doesn’t have enough pieces surrounding their superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. One player who has consistently been delivering however is fifth-year guard Lonnie Walker IV.
Walker is the team’s third-leading scorer at 16.5 points per game and he added 25 points in the team’s victory over the Brooklyn Nets that snapped their five-game losing streak. Walker was aggressive looking for his shot from the beginning with an 11-point first quarter, but he insists that nothing was different about his mindset in this contest.
“Nah, I mean, every time I touch the ball, I’m looking to be aggressive,” Walker said. “It’s just time and place. It’s understanding what’s a good to great shot. So I’m just getting what the team gives me, if I’m open, take it.
“We kept running the pick-and-roll to AD. When you got someone that with that level of talent, I mean, buckets will come, they come real easy because they’re worrying more about AD than anyone else. So I just got to be ready to knock down shots.”
And Walker was definitely ready, hitting 9-of-15 shots from the field including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. And now the Lakers will look to build on this victory with a schedule that seems to have some winnable games against some less than elite teams.
But when asked about that, Walker’s focus wasn’t on the upcoming opponents, but rather some reinforcements the team could be getting back by the time they take the floor again on Friday.
“During this hard and difficult time, we’re just learning how to dance through the rain,” Walker said. “Continue to improve and get better. It feels great to be on the winning side, finally.
“God willing, we got four days off, where we’re gonna have our full team by Friday. I know Dennis Schroder is gonna be back, who’s a terrific player. Thomas Bryant is gonna be back, who’s a terrific player. And hopefully, LeBron [James] will be back on Friday as well. So we’ll be fully suited and ready to go. Like I always say, it’s just all about growth, understanding what we did today, see how we can carry it over Friday.”
While head coach Darvin Ham had said last week that both Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant were still ‘a ways out’ from returning, an update was given a few days later that the two were progressing and would be re-evaluated this Thursday. Should all go well, it does seem possible that Walker is right in that they could be in uniform on Friday.
That would be excellent for the Lakers as they both could give a boost to this rotation. Schroder as an attacking point guard who can create and be a pest on defense, and Bryant as a high-energy big who can ease the burden on Davis and also stretch the floor. At the very least, it will finally give Ham a chance to really work out who are the best pieces for his rotation moving forward.
Lonnie Walker IV discusses the frustration that comes with losing
Of course before Sunday’s victory, the Lakers had lost five straight games and the frustration was surely beginning to grow. Walker opened up about that frustration following the team’s loss on Friday night to the Sacramento Kings.
“I mean, there’s no worse feeling than losing, especially when you put all the time and effort into the game,” Walker said. “And when you really love it. It’s a long season; gotta stay optimistic we can’t hang our heads down.
“Every single day, we got to look to get better. Watch film, hold accountability, hold each other accountable for what we do, and grow. There’s not much more to do. We just got to continue to stay on the right course, understand that this is a long season, and just keep fighting. Keep going. We lost, but it was a close one. We have some hiccups, but we going to pick it up.”
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