Lonnie Walker IV – Miami
CPP Big Board Ranking: #10 Overall (#3 SG)
Weight: 196 lbs
Age/Birthday: 19 (12/14/98)
Hometown: Reading, PA
High School: Reading High School
(Grant Kobrin – 1/29/18)
Lonnie Walker is a freshman shooting guard for the Miami Hurricanes. He was the 13th ranked player in the high school class of 2017, and passed up offers from big name schools, such as: Arizona, Kentucky, Syracuse, and Villanova to play for Jim Larranaga and arguably one of the best teams that Miami has had in recent years. Lonnie Walker joins a highly talented backcourt including sophomores Bruce Brown and Ja’Quan Newton, and freshman guard Chris Lykes. Lonnie Walker began the year off the bench due to a pre-season injury, but quickly assumed the role as a starter for the Hurricanes and has impressed scouts to say the least. He has shown to be a much more NBA ready prospect than scouts were expecting to see from him this season, as he was seen as more of a long term prospect out of high school. He has a bright future ahead of him on the basketball court and will be one of the first shooting guards selected off of the board in this year’s upcoming draft. Lonnie Walker should be a late lottery pick in this year’s draft. He will be a steal if he slides anywhere outside of the lottery.
Strengths: Lonnie Walker is one of the best defenders at the guard position in this year’s draft. While Walker is only 6’4”, he plays much bigger with his length and huge wingspan. He is a defensive nightmare for opposing players, causing turnovers both while guarding the ball, and while playing off the ball in the passing lanes. He averages over a steal a game, and that should only improve as the season continues. He is a lockdown defender at the collegiate level, and that will certainly translate to the NBA game. His offensive game has dramatically improved under Coach Jim Larranaga. He is averaging just under 11 points a game, but he did not start in the beginning of the season because he was coming off of an injury. His most recent numbers indicate that he is in fact, a much better scorer than this. Lonnie Walker’s driving game is solid and he attacks the rim at ease and has an array of different finishes, some seem to be wild, but they work nonetheless. Lonnie Walker’s jumpshot is the part of his game that has improved the most since coming to Miami. His shot is much more fluid and consistent than what he showed in high school, and his shooting percentages attest to this. He is shooting 43.5% from the field which I believe will increase by the end of the year, and he is shooting a respectable 37.5% from beyond the arc and over 73% from the freethrow line. His jump shot still needs work, but most importantly he has shown the ability to improve his shot, which goes a long way to NBA scouts. Lastly, Lonnie Walker is a team oriented player, and is a great team player overall. He makes the extra pass and is always looking for his teammates in transition. His playmaking skills have looked decent so far as well, as he has a high Basketball IQ.
Weaknesses: Lonnie Walker needs to continue to work on his shot and offensive game as a whole. He has a made an incredible amount of progress on the offensive component of his game to his credit, but he still work to do in order to consistently score on NBA defenders. In particular, his shot seems to have a low release on it, so he will need to work on that. Additionally, Walker needs to get a better feel for the game and needs to play more under control at times, and not always try to force the issue offensively, and even defensively at times. Lonnie Walker would be a much more complete prospect with a more polished and traditional offensive game. This is what is really holding him back from being in contention to be a top five pick in this year’s draft. Lonnie Walker is a top defensive player but could rebound better for a guard. He is averaging fewer than three rebounds a game, which is less than scouts would expect considering his size and strength. This is not a major concern, but something worth pointing out.
Player Outlook & NBA Comparison: Iman Shumpert
Lonnie Walker most closely compares to Iman Shumpert. Iman Shumpert came into the league with questions surrounding his offensive game and jump shot in particular, but has turned out to become a solid role player and one of the league’s best perimeter defenders. Lonnie Walker is viewed by scouts with almost the same perspective, except Walker has more potential to be a high scorer in the NBA than Iman Shumpert really ever had. Ironically, Lonnie Walker and Iman Shumpert actually look a lot a like physically.
Lonnie Walker needs to continue prove he can score the ball on the offensive end. He is a raw prospect, but he looks more NBA ready than he ever has before. Look for Lonnie Walker to compete with Gary Trent Jr. for the top shooting guard selected in this year’s draft. Lonnie Walker’s game really contrasts to Gary Trent Jr.’s game, so it will be interesting who is selected first. It will probably really depend on the team. Nonetheless, Lonnie Walker should be a lottery pick based off of his potential and his defensive mentality.
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