Lonnie Walker IV’s first season with the Los Angeles Lakers has been a tumultuous one. He signed in free agency from the San Antonio Spurs and found early success as a starter, averaging nearly 14 points per game in November on 44% shooting from distance while showcasing a defensive discipline that he hadn’t exhibited before.
However, as the season wore on, things changed. He dealt with an injury to his knee which the team termed “tendinitis” (most likely patellar tendinopathy aka “jumper’s knee” which is quite common in basketball players, especially explosive leapers like Lonnie) and was unable to regain a consistent foothold back in the lineup - getting minutes here and there but nothing consistently.
During that time, I distinctly remember multiple home games where after not having played much, Walker stayed after at Crypto.com Arena and went through his on-court workouts. His minutes may have changed but his resolve and work ethic hadn’t.
That determination and readiness all came to a head during the Lakers critical Game 4 victory over the Golden State Warriors in which Lonnie was the star of the closing quarter and did something that hasn’t been done since the late, great Kobe Bryant.
Let's take a closer look at the film.
It was a remarkable quarter - and frankly game for Lonnie Walker IV - on both ends of the floor. Another metaphor for how sports can often mirror life and the reaction from Lonnie’s teammates says it all. A true professional who stuck with it, kept his head down, kept positive, and then allowed his preparation to take over.
Huge contribution from Lonnie but the story’s not over yet. The Lakers will need him moving forward, things only get harder from here.
Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, is a youth basketball coach at the U12 level and runs his own in-person and online sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA in which he further combines his movement expertise and fitness training. Combining his background in biomechanics, movement science, and learning science - he consults in a variety of sports including basketball on movement mechanics and skill acquisition. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC and analyzes the Lakers from a skills & medical perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.