Lonnie Walker IV received a wing pass from Troy Brown Jr. early in the third quarter, took a few dribbles and raised for a massive dunk, showing another sign of the athleticism the Lakers have learned to love from the swingman.
Speaking ahead of the game, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said how in his four years at San Antonio Walker showed what a “great athlete” he was.
“He has gifts that a lot of players don’t have,” said Popovich, who was unable to coach the Lakers’ 123-92 win due to illness.
Walker didn’t do much for Spurs during his time there, appearing in that role in just 56 games and just six of the 70 games he played for them last season.
But with the Lakers, Walker has started in all 13 games he has played this season.
According to Popovich, Walker has developed his game well enough to be a starter for the Lakers.
“Learn how to play with teammates, understand what solid means in terms of winning and losing. And that takes a little while. And he’s definitely made progress in that regard,” Popovich said. “He will continue on this path. He did a really good job. Because he had always relied solely on this athletic ability, it was so ridiculous compared to other people. But now he understands the mental side of the game more with each passing year and it shows in his game.”
It was Walker’s game in the second quarter that allowed the Lakers to break up.
He drilled a three-pointer and then followed with a quick burst across the court, past all Spurs defenders to finish with a layup that gave the Lakers a 59-43 lead and forced San Antonio to call a time-out with 2 :20 to take the second quarter.
Walker finished the race with 14 points in six-for-12 shooting in 28 minutes.
Seeing Walker’s athletic gifts in person every day also made an impression on Lakers coach Darvin Ham.
“I always thought he was a phenomenal athlete and now that I see him up close every day it’s like he has a diverse skill set,” Ham said. “He told me when we signed him and he was on the line every day that he wanted to be better and defensive elite and we made him more efficient offensively and making smart decisions with the ball in his hands. And he did that on both sides. We put him on Elite Perimeter Scorer and he holds his own and gives us big plays offensively in all parts of the game. So I’m happy for the kid. I think it’s something that will continue.”
https://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/story/2022-11-21/lonnie-walker-gregg-popovich-lakers-spurs-takeaways Three takeaways from Lakers’ blowout win over San Antonio Spurs