Is Lonnie Walker being overlooked as Rookie of the Year Candidate?

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 24: Lonnie Walker IV
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 24: Lonnie Walker IV /

It’s been less than a week since Lonnie Walker was chosen 18th by San Antonio in the NBA Draft. Walker was called one of the biggest steals in this year’s draft. Should he be considered an NBA Rookie of the Year candidate for 2018-19?

Lonnie Walker was not one of the five players not included as part of the field per gambling site bet DSI. The odds were posted to their Twitter account and by the NBC affiliate in San Antonio.

Four of the five players listed were chosen in the first five picks in the NBA Draft. The top three picks, Phoenix Suns center DeAndre Ayton, Sacramento Kings forward-center Marvin Bagley from Duke and Dallas Mavericks forward-guard Luka Doncic were chosen first through third in the draft.

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Lakers' next signing is painfully obvious after Lonnie Walker IV's departure
Lakers' next signing is painfully obvious after Lonnie Walker IV's departure /

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  • Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young went fifth overall. Doncic was initially chosen by Atlanta, Young by Dallas, The two were then traded for each other. The Hawks also received Dallas’ 2019 first round pick.

    The only player was chosen in the top five that’s not one of the Rookie of the Year favorites is the Memphis Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. Jackson didn’t put up great stats in his only season at Michigan State.

    The fifth player on the list to receive individual odds is Denver’s Michael Porter who went 14th overall. Porter missed almost the entire college season with Missouri in 2017-18 after back surgery. He would have been a high lottery pick if healthy.

    Bagley and Young have better odds than the field. Ayton is slightly behind the field. Porter and Doncic are considered long shots.

    Lonnie Walker should have a great long-term future in San Antonio. The Kawhi Leonard situation could have a big impact on how next season plays out, particularly for Walker.

    If Leonard somehow returns for the Spurs the likelihood is that San Antonio keeps their veterans around. If the Spurs trade him they could be looking to rebuild.

    San Antonio is old. Leonard was the only player in the Spurs top seven in points per game last season who won’t be 30 or over by the time the 2018-19 season starts.

    The Spurs have veteran guards Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Patty Mills, plus third-year pro Dejaunte Murray who turns 22 in September all ahead of Walker in the backcourt.

    Cracking the lineup if all of those players return will be difficult for Walker. They may choose to have him play some of the season in the G-League.

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    Walker’s rookie season could be one of learning and observing. At this point, Walker earning the NBA’s Rookie of the Year very much seems like a long shot.