Miami’s Lonnie Walker entering, staying in NBA draft

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As Kurt warned, Lonnie Walker might dazzle with his athleticism – or not. The freshman guard scored 12 points on 12 shots with three turnovers and no assists in Miami’s upset loss to Loyola in the NCAA tournament.

That will be Walker’s final college game.

Walker:

Walker is projected as a mid-first-round pick. Teams can’t get enough wings, and Walker has the potential to be a good one. Positional scarcity should drive up his draft stock.

He can shoot from deep off the dribble or the catch, though he must still develop his stroke further (35% on 3-pointers, 74% on free throws).

Walker tends to force too many bad shots. That might be a symptom of the Hurricanes’ system, but it also might speak to his court vision. He’s a mediocre passer.

At 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, Walker has the size and mobility to be an excellent defender. He’s most effective on-ball, against shooting guards or point guards. His versatility to switch onto bigs is questionable, and he can get lost at times.

For all his athleticism, Walker leaves a lot to be desired as a driver. Again, that might speak to his inability to read the floor. His ability to create shots for himself – a valuable skill – shows up mostly on the perimeter.

Walker left a lot to be desired at Miami, but watch a highlight reel, and he’d look like an elite prospect. It’s the quiet deficiencies that should cause questions. Here’s betting a team bets on the flashes of upside and picks Walker in the first round.