Lonnie Walker IV was the 13th-ranked prospect in the 2017 high school class [1] but started his freshman year of college slowly after undergoing knee surgery [2] in July. Walker been heating up over the last month. Aside from getting his legs back under him, Walker has also gotten a more prominent role within the offense due to the absence of Bruce Brown, Jr.

The six-foot-five wing is currently averaging 17.2 points per 40 minutes on 54.1% true shooting and posting a 17.2 player efficiency rating through 27 appearances this season [3].

Walker projects as a weak-side spot-up shooter who has shown flashes of being able to take shots on the move as well. He’s also proven himself able to get his own look one-on-one late in the shot clock, though he is yet to show an advanced feel for the game that suggests he’s about to develop into someone who can run offense on an every-possession basis any time soon.

On the other end, the 19-year-old [4] has the size and the athletic traits to be expected to play at least average defense. In terms of execution, he’s alternated impressive awareness rotating in to crowd the interior with getting burned backdoor at times, which is not uncommon for someone whose only other meaningful experience prior to arriving at Miami was 97 minutes at the Nike Global Challenge in 2015 [5].

A more pressing concern, perhaps, is that it remains unclear how much versatility he offers in an Era where being able to switch across multiple positions is becoming a necessity.

Nonetheless, Walker is ranked 17th on ESPN’s top 100.

Outside Shooting

His most immediate way of contributing is his outside shot, as 51.6 percent of his live-ball attempts have come from three-point range, some of them from real deep distance.

Though he is mostly only an open shot shooter at this point of his development, he’s made a few shots coming to the ball on dribble hand-offs and jogging around pindown screens.

Walker has compact mechanics, releasing the ball out in front of his forehead. He gets great elevation and rises up in balance, his motion is quite fluid too, so he’s been able to get his shots off comfortably at the collegiate level.

Walker needs to work on speeding up his release, though. His trigger is not necessarily slow, but not particularly quick either.

He’s nailed an average 35.6 percent of his 132 three-point shots so far this season, at a pace of 7.4 such attempts per 40 minutes. That said, he’s also hit 78.3 percent of his 60 foul shots, which suggests potential for him to become a better shooter than that with better shots created for him down the line.

Catch-and-Go Offense

Walker has been enough of a threat on catch-and-shoot’s that he demands hard closeouts, creating opportunities for him to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket against a scrambling defense. He can lose his man in a split-second when he makes a decisive move off the catch and has long strides to get all the way to the basket in a couple of dribbles.

Walker has shown to be a very resourceful finisher, not only able to explode off one foot going up strong in traffic but also hang and adjust his body in the air, showing a lot of dexterity having the ball change hands mid-flight and proving himself capable of finishing with either hand on up-and-under’s and on his way down. Walker has also flashed a floater to score over length from the in-between area.

His touch is not always that great, though. As is, despite the way he looks on his best finishes, Walker’s converted a very so-so 57.9 percent of 76 shots at the rim [6].

Another area for improvement would be developing a knack for drawing contact. For all his wild takes to the goal, with over 60 percent of his two-point shots coming at the basket, Walker has earned just 3.3 foul shots per 40 minutes.

One-on-One Offense

But Walker is considered an appealing mid-first round prospect due to the flashes he’s shown of being able to create his own shot late in possessions.

He’s not very explosive going to his left and his handle isn’t very tight but Walker can turn on the jets in a split-second going to his strong hand and has displayed a fairly deep arsenal of dribble moves to shake his man off balance and create separation to launch pull-ups; in-and-out dribble, spins and euro-steps to weave his way through traffic, side-to-side suddenness and crossover into step-back jumper.

But though he’s been able to make a few tough shots, Walker is not yet a particularly efficient shot maker. He has just 15 unassisted three-point makes in 27 appearances this season and missed 32 of his 48 two-point jump-shots so far.

Operating pick-and-rolls, Walker can change directions in a pinch to try losing his man around the ball-screen as he looks to set up a pull-up and can make a basic pass over the top against soft-doubles but hasn’t shown much advanced work tying up the help to open up the pocket pass or spotting weak-side breakdowns – assisting on just 13.3 percent of Miami’s scores when he’s been on the floor this season.


Walker’s effort on the ball is quite pleasing. He bends his knees to get down in a stance, works to go over ball-screens and hustles to recover. Though he doesn’t use the strength in his well distributed 204-pound frame [7] to contain dribble penetration, he shuffles his feet laterally well to stay attached in isolation and uses his length to contest shots effectively.

Away from the ball, Walker can get caught ball watching and gives up cuts from time to time but has proven himself aware of his responsibilities rotating in to pick up the roll man and contributing on box-outs, though the fact he doesn’t translate his explosive leaping ability into more tangible events near the basket is somewhat disappointing – rarely blocking shots at the rim and collecting just 9.3% of opponents’ misses when he’s on the floor this season.

He could also use his six-foot-11 wingspan [8] to make more plays in the passing lanes – as his average of 1.5 steals per 40 minutes isn’t particularly impressive for someone with his combination of length and quickness.

Walker has been a mixed bag chasing shooters around staggered screens, alternating instances where he’s struggled to negotiate picks with highlights where he covers a lot of ground in a split-second and explodes off two feet to block jumpers – saving final possessions in the games against Florida State and Louisville.

But where Walker has impressed the most in terms of leveraging his athleticism into effectiveness is on stunt-and-recover’s, proving himself able to run shooters off their shots and stay balanced to keep pace with them as they put the ball on the floor regularly.

Though his individual defensive rating is only fifth on the team among rotation players [9], Walker has logged the second most minutes in a team that ranks 24th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency [10], signaling he can be fit into a scheme that executes at an above average level.