From the moment he was drafted in 2018, Lonnie Walker brought a level of excitement to the San Antonio Spurs that we hadn't seen from a young player in quite some time. After picking at the back end of the first round for much of the past two decades, the selection of Walker with the 18th overall pick marked San Antonio's highest draft pick since they took Tim Duncan all the way back in 1997.
But over the past four seasons, that excitement has waned as Walker struggles to meet the high expectations that Spurs fans had for him. There have certainly been bright spots, such as his 28-point breakout in a win against the Houston Rockets in 2019. But these moments of excitement have been matched with stretches of inconsistency and, as it stands today, Walker's future in San Antonio remains uncertain.
The Spurs declined to sign him to an extension before the season, meaning Walker will enter the upcoming summer as a restricted free agent. This could very well be the last season we see him playing for the Silver and Black. With Lonnie's future in San Antonio up in the air, you've got to ask yourself if the Spurs made the right call drafting him in the first place.
Was drafting Lonnie Walker the right move for the Spurs in 2018?
It's easy to look back at past drafts and criticize the Spurs - or any other team in the NBA - for picks they made or didn't make. Nailing draft picks is one of the hardest things for a team to do consistently. Even the best get a few picks wrong here and there.
Given where the Spurs were at the end of the 2017 season, there were plenty of prospects available who would have made sense for them. Let's take a look at a few of those players and how their careers have progressed since then before we make a determination on whether the Spurs made a mistake in drafting Walker.