San Antonio Spurs: Rookie survey places Lonnie Walker as draft steal
By Rob Wolkenbrod
San Antonio Spurs draftee Lonnie Walker’s placement in the 2018-19 Rookie Survey varied, depending on the category.
On Tuesday, the NBA released its 2018-19 Rookie Survey, with 20 players selected to answer questions on the upcoming rookie class. While the players were not disclosed, San Antonio Spurs rookie Lonnie Walker found his way into the given categories.
Walker was an afterthought in the 2018-19 Rookie of the Year voting, as he did not place in the top five. He received votes, but DeAndre Ayton, Collin Sexton, Kevin Knox, Luka Doncic, Mohamed Bamba, Michael Porter Jr. and Trae Young were among the players listed ahead.
However, Walker received more votes for “Which rookie will have the best career?” He tied for third with Ayton, Bamba, Sexton and Miles Bridges at seven percent.
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As for the draft’s biggest steal, Walker moved up even higher in the voting; he tied for the second spot with Porter at 10 percent, while Keita Bates-Diop received the most votes at 13 percent. The Spurs selected Walker at No. 18 overall.
Walker also placed in “Which rookie is most athletic?” He received 15 percent of the votes, while Zhaire Smith took 24 percent of them.
Players might not be in favor of Walker’s rookie season, but the future outlooks seems high. With a cluttered group of guards ahead of him in 2018-19, playing time will be difficult to find, so 2019-20 and 2020-21 may unveil as the years when he finds greater opportunities.
For now, though, Walker has a spot on San Antonio’s Opening Night roster. It’s still possible the organization places him in the G League, like Dejounte Murray and Derrick White, to earn consistent playing time. With White, DeMar DeRozan, Manu Ginobili and Bryn Forbes ahead of the Miami product, it would arguably be for the best.
Where will Walker stand in the 2018 class down the line? Could he have one of the best years of this group?