Spurs: 3 Ways Lonnie Walker must develop to reach next level

Lonnie Walker - Phoenix Suns  v San Antonio Spurs
Lonnie Walker - Phoenix Suns v San Antonio Spurs / Ronald Cortes/Getty Images
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Lonnie Walker - San Antonio Spurs v Portland Trail Blazers / Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Spurs: Lonnie Walker's finishing leaves a bit to be desired

This past offseason following the NBA bubble, Lonnie Walker notably spent two weeks training with Jrue Holiday, primarily working on his strength, athleticism, and one-on-one scoring ability. Videos of the training show Lonnie playing 'make it, take it' style 2v2 alongside Holiday and two other training partners. While he was able to show off some of his shooting touch, more often than not, it appeared that he was actively attempting to finish at the rim.

As a now long-time NBA veteran, it was encouraging to see Lonnie training with Holiday. What is particularly underrated about Holiday's game to this day is his ability to finish at the rim, and in my opinion, that ability translated a bit to Lonnie's game this past season. Particularly toward the end of the season, Walker seemed far more comfortable with drawing contact and making some acrobatic finishes at the bucket, even if he wasn't making all of them.

That said, Walker still has some work to do with scoring through contact despite having the ability to be a very crafty finisher on occasion. When comparing Lonnie's shooting stats to those of Jrue Holiday around the rim, you can see that Holiday has nearly double the attempts near the bucket per game compared to Lonnie and yet is about 8% more efficient on those attempts. Even Keldon Johnson's stats show that he takes about double the attempts near the rim compared to Lonnie on marginally better efficiency.

In this way, Lonnie could take some notes from both Keldon and Holiday in this area, whether that means gaining some more strength or simply practicing more physical finishes. Accomplishing this would mean that opponents would have to remain honest and give him some more space when defending him. This could potentially give Lonnie more space to hit some outside shots without requiring an assist from one of his teammates.