Unrestricted free agent guard Lonnie Walker IV has agreed to a one-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets, according to ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski. A first-round draft pick in 2018, Walker spent last season with the Los Angeles Lakers after spending his first four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.
An athletic wing with upside on both ends of the floor, Walker averaged 10.6 points per game against the Golden State Warriors in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, shooting 54.1 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from 3-point range. Although he didn't sustain his performance the remainder of the postseason, the flash was just enough to remind people about what he looks like at his best.
Walker emerged a significant contributor to the Lakers late in his only season there.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2023
Walker, still just 24 years old, has a career scoring average of 11.7 points per game.
While this number may not mean much in a vacuum, when wondering why a player capable of consistently scoring in double figures has had an up-and-down start to his career, one has to look at other areas of his game.
Walker isn't a high-level facilitator or outside shooter, as his career average of 1.5 assists per game and career mark of 34.9 percent shooting from 3-point range would suggest. At 6-foot-4 and a lean 204 pounds, Walker doesn't crash the glass either, averaging 2.3 rebounds per outing for his career.
All of which would possibly be okay if Lonnie Walker was more consistent defensively. However, despite his physical tools, Walker isn't the most instinctive or fundamentally sound defender, and being in and out of the Lakers lineup didn't help him shore that up.
However, under a defensive-minded head coach in Nets leader Jacque Vaughn, Walker could show definitive improvement in that area. If he's able to make plays in transition and knock down his catch-and-shoot jumpers as well, his deal could work out for both parties.