After Rob Pelinka (and LeBron James) completely dismantled the roster in the 2021 offseason for Russell Westbrook, the Los Angeles Lakers had to fill in the empty spots with a bunch of veteran minimum signees. They did that, however, they couldn’t have assembled a worse group of players while doing so. Pelinka and the organization have seemed to admit fault in that regard, as they haven’t re-signed anyone from last year’s team with less than two weeks before training camp will likely begin. That means a whole new batch of Lakers signees, with the taxpayer mid-level exception representing the most the Lakers could pay a free agent in this 2022 offseason. That MLE went to Lonnie Walker IV, who comes to the team after starting his career with four seasons on the San Antonio Spurs.
Lonnie Walker is an explosive, athletic, but streaky offensive guard standing at 6’4”. He never seemed to have reached his full potential with the Spurs in his short amount of time there, however, it seems more so that the Spurs let him go because of their impending plans of tanking than it is because of who he is as a player.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the Lakers netted a slam dunk with the use of their MLE this year. Walker’s 3-point shooting regressed this past season to a 31.4% clip while his defense has been pretty abysmal with no signs of it seeing an improvement this season.
In our latest podcast episode which you can find above, Noah Magaro-George of Pounding the Rock and the Alamo City Limits podcast joined our own Donny McHenry to discuss the 23-year-old. Noah filled Donny in about that poor defense, Lonnie’s streaky shooting, how he might handle a lessened role even compared to his somewhat small role with the Spurs, and more.
We’ve done a couple of these Lakers player preview podcasts recently with bloggers who covered the players last season, including one about Troy Brown, Jr and one covering Thomas Bryant. Check those out too if you get a chance.