Why Lonnie Walker is such a big gamble for the Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are currently deadlocked in negotiations to acquire Kyrie Irving, adding further uncertainty to a team that already has a lot of questions. Given that the Lakers have limited options to improve their roster, it makes sense that they would go after Irving, but signing guard Lonnie Walker doesn’t. At least not yet.

In a one-year deal worth $6.5 million, there are certainly worse options than Walker, but he has been a disappointment so far in his career, despite his apparent talent. So much so that rebuilding the San Antonio Spurs relinquished their rights to him, paving the way for the Lakers to sign him.

The Lakers have relied on these short deals in recent years to bring in veterans or sign talented, albeit unproven, players. Signing Walker is in keeping with that tradition but there are a lot of questions surrounding his suitability in Los Angeles

Walker has the talent to change the rules of the game with the Los Angeles Lakers

Walker has played as Spurs’ sixth man in the past two seasons and averaged an impressive 12.1 points in just 23 minutes per game last year. Despite that, it was somewhat ineffective. He shot 31.4% on five three times per game and settled on plenty of contested mid-range jumpers, making him underestimate his outrageous sport. Apparently, the hope is that he plays better with LeBron James and Anthony Davis there to draw attention away from him.

I’m skeptical because he has a 34.3% shooter 3-point shot, which is just below average. Then there is his defense. Walker has all the potential in the world but hasn’t quite lived up to that, and at this point, he’s probably what he is. He’s a mid-level defender who can sometimes play a game or two for that matter.

So, is Walker really a hopeless fit for the Los Angeles Lakers? Maybe, but playing in a different system might do him some good. We don’t know what the Lakers’ system will actually look like under new coach Darvin Hamm just yet, but it’s likely to be a stern attack and he’s never played with a player like James.

Locker may have a more specific role, rather than just being a microwave recorder, and having a few parameters can do wonders in his offensive game.

Really, a lot of his attacking issues would be solved if he cut mid-range jumpers, shot better than three, and attacked the basket consistently. These are realistic goals, and all three did in the second half of last season. He was great, averaging 15.3 points on effective aiming, but maybe that was an aberration. Spurs seemed to think so, at least.

If Walker continues to play this strong next season, he could be one of the best free agent signings and help the Lakers make the playoffs. If he couldn’t, it would be another gaffe by the front office of the Los Angeles Lakers. This is gambling.

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