The San Antonio Spurs selected shooting guard Lonnie Walker with the No. 18 pick of the 2018 NBA draft.
Walker is a one and done, hailing from the University of Miami (FL). The 6’5” combo guard out of Reading, Pa., was regarded as a top 20 player in the class of 2017 by most scouting services.
In his first and only season with the Hurricanes, Walker put up 11.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists as he helped lead Miami to an NCAA tournament berth, losing to Loyola-Chicago in first round.
Jeremy Woo's grade: A
This is terrific value for San Antonio, who land a potential starting-caliber shooting guard who wasn’t expected to be available at their selection. He’s a fantastic athlete with real upside as a scorer and will be in a great situation for his development with the Spurs. According to league sources, some teams were concerned with Walker’s medical, which played a small role in this situation, but the issues had to do more with his long-term durability than any immediate injury risk. Walker’s athletic, slashing style of play could eventually give the Spurs a dangerous offensive dimension.
SI.com's Chris Johnson broke down Walker's strengths and weaknesses.
• Potent attacker off the dribble. Uses the threat of his jump shot well to blow by defenders.
• Three-point percentage (34.6%) might undersell his long-range shooting ability. Has a compact stroke. Can launch coming off screens or rise and fire off the dribble.
• Impressive athlete who can rise over defenders to finish. Shows good touch around the basket. Makes acrobatic plays.
• Possesses a good frame for a shooting guard. Measured with a 6’10’’ wingspan.
• Combination of length and lateral quickness could make him a three-position defender. Doesn’t cede ground to bigger wings.
• Not a polished playmaker. Doesn’t often make advanced reads out of pick-and-rolls and may never be someone who initiates offense.
• Lacks high-level ballhandling skills. Not clear he can consistently create shots off the bounce. Needs more than straight driving ability.
• Needs to improve shot selection and strike a healthier balance between scoring and distributing. Can get tunnel vision on drives. Overall feel is questionable.
• Tends to get lost on defense. Not as disruptive or impactful on that end of the floor as his physical tools suggest he should be.