Lakers News: Lonnie Walker IV Praises Laker Legend Pau Gasol
The two players were teammates on the San Antonio Spurs.
New Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Lonnie Walker IV has been one of the few bright spots during L.A.’s 1-5 start to the season, flashing an exciting athleticism that has translated to a more robust defensive presence than this writer initially anticipated he’d have. He’s also been impressively assertive in driving inside the paint for easy takes.
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The 6’4″ wing out of Miami, a career 33.8% three-point shooter on 3.6 attempts, has stumbled from deep this year, connecting on just 21.9% of his 5.3 tries thus far. All told, though, he seems to have squarely established himself as one of the team’s more reliable scorers not named LeBron James or Anthony Davis. Across six contests as a Laker (all starts), Walker is averaging 14.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and a block in 31.3 minutes a night.
He spent his first four NBA seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, a great destination for player development. During his rookie season in 2018-19, he was teammates with a 38-year-old Pau Gasol, a Laker legend who proved to be one of the most critical players as L.A. won its 15th and 16th championships in 2009 and 2010.
Gaso was in the house recently to commemorate the jersey retirement of L.A.’s first Hall of Fame big man, George Mikan, this past Sunday. He visited the current Lakers roster, which allowed him to reconnect with his old San Antonio teammate.
Walker reflected to reporters recently about his experience with Gasol:
“Once in a lifetime. Between [him] and Tim [Duncan], I’m not sure who I was more starstruck by, based off of just their history and what they have done. But having Pau around, especially when I tore my meniscus, he was one of the players that really helped me. When I was down… you know, this was my second time tearing my meniscus [in] back-to-back years, so he helped me out, he kept my confidence up, he showed me just [how to] be patient, to be ready, and take it day to day. Coming here and being a Laker, repping what he repped back in the day, it’s great… This is my fifth year in, he sees a lot of growth. But it’s great to talk to him and hear him say that he loves what I’m doing.”
This year’s Lakers team could certainly use Peak Pau in the frontcourt alongside Anthony Davis. Unfortunately, the next time it may see the six-time All-Star could be for his own jersey retirement ceremony on March 7th, 2023.