The Los Angeles Lakers started the season off on a horrible foot, losing each of the team’s first five games of the season. However, back-to-back wins have boosted the morale in Los Angeles as fans are confident that there is at least something here with the team to be excited about.
In the rollercoaster seven games thus far there have been players who have been surprising in both extremes; those that have been surprisingly bad this season and those that have been surprisingly impressive.
While there are a few Lakers who have impressed fans thus far this season, there is only one player that has the distinction of being the most impressive player on the team and quite frankly, it is not even close with the rest of the roster.
Lonnie Walker IV is easily the most impressive player on the Lakers roster thus far.
Lonnie Walker IV has not been the best player on the Los Angeles Lakers (that is always going to belong to either LeBron James or Anthony Davis), but he has certainly been the most impressive because of his level of play.
It seemed like an ill-fated move by the Lakers to use their Taxpayer’s Mid-Level Exception on Walker in the offseason but the former Spur has proved any worries wrong with his strong play this season.
Walker is averaging a career-high 16.1 points on a career-high 43.8% shooting thus far this season. His three-point shooting still needs to turn a corner as he is shooting under 30% but Lakers fans have seen how deadly Walker can be in spurts with several strong games.
What has been most impressive is his strives defensively. Walker never really put it together defensively in San Antonio despite having the traits to make an impact on that side of the floor. This season, we have seen some of that defensive potential come to light.
Walker has posted a 0.7 Defensive Box Plus/Minus thus far this season, which would be the highest since his rookie season. Walker ranks 33rd out of 128 players with at least 200 minutes played in Defensive Points Saved this season. For comparison, he is sandwiched between two notable players in Paul George and Jimmy Butler.
There is a long season still ahead of Walker and the Lakers but this start has all the makings of being a breakout season for Walker in the purple and gold. Last year, it was Malik Monk who came in and shocked the NBA world with his play on the Lakers.
The Los Angeles Lakers have tried trading Russell Westbrook since the 2022 trade deadline. As this season develops, some teams may make that process easier.
This season, we might see Lonnie Walker IV do the exact same thing.