“Lonnie Walker White Suit” by Chris Marion is licensed under Getty Images
The TV flickers with distorted light, Lonnie Walker IV sits on his couch searching for an answer, or rather knowledge of a potential answer. His eyes do not gaze at Lebron going 1-on-5 versus the Warriors, or a cheesy show of the Bachelor. Rather, his fingers move violently around his remote, flipping back and forth from the animal planet and discovery channel. For Walker, his onus originates from lucid understanding. He learned that from his grandmother, who explained that knowledge is a wielding of power.
There’s a lot to fathom of the 18th pick, describing himself effervescently as a knowledge freak.
Surrounding eyes stared dauntlessly into Lonnie Walker’s eyes, lingering for an inevitable misstep. It was the NBA combine, where players are judged far and wide between, from the crumbs of mannerisms to on-court nature.
The former Miami guard already stood out in a crowd. After all, his hair is plopped up like The Weeknd, he fancies white Armani suits and has spring-powered legs. Although, those were not the qualities that defined, en masse, how Walker was perceived.
“The Earth is definitely an illusion,” he tells a wide-eyed Mike Schmitz.
In a less progressive league, like the NFL, these words would have been taken grimly. His talent strikingly mitigated by his verbatim. Howbeit, the NBA has seen the likes of Kyrie Irving declaring the Earth is flat to palace clearing brawls. In a league full of surprises, this abstruse sentence could have fallen through the cracks of public consciousness. Albeit Lonnie Walker IV was amidst a dress rehearsal and being sized up by 30 NBA teams’ front offices.
Yet condign notion should allow Walker a freebie. After all, he is still an adolescent, at 19, and is especially young for his age. Of course, everyone has something they wish they could have taken back or put into words that more fluidly adjusted to listener’s ears.
For someone so young, he possesses a surprising wealth of shrewd acumen. When asked what improvements to his game he should make, Lonnie started talking a million miles per hour, like he had rehearsed his answer for hours on end. He elegantly coalesced two thoughts into one colluded sentence.
“Definitely ball-handling.” He is right, the 6’3’’ guard is decidedly small for the 2 position. No doubt, Walker will need to pull-up in the mid-range fluently and take it to the hoop swimmingly. Yet, he had more to say. He always has something more to say. His deep thinking extends beyond social context, always looking to collaborate technicalities into the bigger picture.
“Continuing to progress as a man, on and off the court.”
To get things straight, Walker does not just talk the talk. He walks the walk with flying colors. Walker’s story is that of an underdog. It isn’t quite Rudy–Walker was still the ESPN 13th ranked recruit in 2017–but there were other guards considered more refined and more cut out for the next stage. So Walker plays with not just a chip on his shoulder, but a dent in his armor.
Following Bruce Brown’s injury, the freshman was propelled to an unexpected role. The role allowed him to showcase his talent imminently and bypass his sophomore season. In the wake of the injury to the star player, Walker produced 12.7 points and revived his broken jump shot. His 6’11’’ wingspan should let him attack closeouts with tenacity and garner a profusion of steals. He is not finished constructing a solid infrastructure though, he’s preparing to build a mansion.
In some ways, Lonnie Walker and the Spurs are custom-fit like Walker and his white blazer. The team is inevitably losing their face of the franchise, who happens to do everything Walker is carved out to do. It is not entirely asinine to believe Walker will be able to step in and partially usurp Kawhi and his defensive chops and offensive adroitness. Just like Kawhi, Walker will find his footing as an encyclopedic talent. By staying true to himself and relying on simplicity, Walker will adapt to Popovich and his teachings.
On the other hand, the Spurs and Walker could be seen as inherent antonyms. Within his NBA combine preaching, conceded is the fact that Walker is nothing short of outspoken. If he proves to let his play do the talking for him, which Popovich will oblige to, then he will be a valid fit. But there is a practical chance Walker barely graces the court in his rookie season. In that chance, Walker will not be able to let his volatile play to make any noise, thus his words will be amplified, ostensibly by a loudspeaker.
His undertone is enlightened with broadened sagacity again, “To get to this league, to get to this point, you definitely have to make sacrifices in life, and I definitely have been making those sacrifices and improving as a player.” Whether that be learning the height and width of a Tiger’s paws or his opponents’ tendency to pull up when he dribbles with his right hand.
After all, knowledge is power for Lonnie Walker IV.