John Collins can shield Walker’s weaknesses
As previously mentioned, Walker is not the best facilitator, but that should change when Collins arrives and Walker gets more experience. I’m not confident Walker can excel as a rebounding guard.
Walker only grabbed 2.6 boards per night this season, which is by no means great. It isn’t awful, either, but the Spurs were a below-average rebounding team this season, so having anyone who struggles in that area is bad.
When Walker plays with the starters, Poeltl is usually the center. He is not a great rebounder, leaving others to do the work. In the past, this puts a spotlight on Walker’s poor rebounding, but with the addition of Collins, an elite board crasher, this could change.
I would love Walker to become a better all-around player, but asking him to develop a part of the game he doesn’t even have is asking too much. With Collins down low, when he grabs defensive rebounds Lonnie can sprint down court to get an easy dunk or create a fast break, and when the Spurs shoot, Walker can wait to receive a pass from the offensive rebound instead of fruitlessly mixing in the fray.
It is cheesy to say that Collins can help Walker by simply covering for his lackluster rebounding ability? Yes, of course, it is. That’s because Walker is actually one of the most underrated players in the league (right behind Dejounte Murray!). I’m not convinced Walker needs to take massive strides. He’s already a really good player with a lot of promise. Adding an elite weapon in Collins will allow Walker to improve even more and adjust his game to be better and more efficient.
Collins is the perfect signing to bring out the best in Walker, and having someone who can run with the starters and lead the bench night in and night out is a very, very important way to find team success. With some help, Lonnie Walker can easily be the next Ginobili, although I hope Lonnie doesn’t bald too soon.