Lonnie Walker IV: Playing with the Spurs is the best thing to happen to me
San Antonio Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV participated in the annual summer ritual for all NBA rookies - the NBA Rookie Photo Shoot.
There he was able to not only put on his new Spurs jersey and mingle with his 2018-19 NBA rookie classmates but also got to see his face stamped on his first Panini basketball card.
"To get my first Panini card, it's extravagant. I'm extremely ecstatic and I am extremely happy to have one," said Walker.
While Lonnie is excited to have his own basketball trading card, there is the matter of taking his first steps on the court in his pro-career.
Walker was selected 18th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft and turned heads at the 2018 Summer League. In Las Vegas, he averaged 11.5 points in four games before being sidelined with a ankle injury.
His play got the attention of Spurs' Gregg Popovich who commented that he may have to let Lonnie loose on the court similar to what he did with Manu Ginobili when he started his NBA career.
“The one thought that went through my head when (Walker) would use some of that athleticism and do something a little off the cuff, I started to think about Manu when he was young,” Popovich said during a media session this summer.
And if Walker's play isn't enough to get Pop's interest piqued, what the Spurs rookie says about joining San Antonio will certainly do the trick.
"Knowing that I have such a great coach, such as (Gregg) Popovich, who has built dynasties and coached some of the greatest players of all-time," Walker said. "I'm going to help the team with whatever they need help with. Whatever coach Popovich needs me to do, I'm happy enough to do it."
Lonnie will have to impress on the court once training camp and preseason begins. He'll have established players at his position ahead of him such as DeMar DeRozan and Manu Ginobili if he does postpone retirement for one more season.
However, he is definitely part of the Spurs' youth movement and future as a new generation of Spurs players slowly begin to take their place in franchise history.
"To be able to play with the Spurs is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me," said Walker.