San Antonio Spurs Option 4: Lonnie Walker
There are several reasons to believe Lonnie Walker will have a breakout season in 2022. For one, he improved his point average from 6.4 in 2019-20 to 11.2 last season with an increased role. His efficiency also went up as well, with his 21.3 points per 100 possessions being the best he's averaged in his young career.
Secondly, Lonnie's overall game has expanded to include improved passing and playmaking in the last year. While his assist numbers don't jump off the page quite yet, it's easy to see how big of a jump that area has taken just by watching him.
What were once drives to the bucket with the solitary goal of finishing at the rim (even when heavily guarded), has turned into drive and dishes when defenses expectedly funnel in.
My colleague and former Air Alamo site co-expert Dylan Carter believes Lonnie has a serious chance to be the team's leading scorer with DeRozan now gone. While I'm high on Walker taking a scoring leap again with more minutes, I feel like there might be a couple of things working against him for that to happen.
Firstly, Walker's consistency has been an issue in the past. To end the 2021 season, Walker had a 5-game stretch in which he averaged 14.8 points on 38.7 percent shooting from deep. He then scored nine total points in the final two games on 1-of-10 from three. Those kinds of nights will have to become rare occasions if Lonnie is going to carry the scoring mantle this season.
Secondly, there's a good chance Walker will have the same sixth man role he's had on the team in the past. Only injuries could give Lonnie extended time with the starting unit, as was the case with Derrick White's health issues last season. It's hard to see a bench guy leading the Spurs in scoring for the season.