Lonnie Walker IV settling in on Spurs’ second unit

The play came with a burst out of nowhere, like the best Lonnie Walker IV plays tend to do.

Late in the first half Sunday against Philadelphia, Walker cut backdoor behind the 76ers’ Danny Green, took a bounce pass from center Gorgui Dieng, then bounded for an eye-popping dunk he finished left-handed atop his flailing defender.

If it reminded of one of the more famous left-handers in Spurs history, there might be a reason for that.

“He’s coming off the bench for us, kind of like Manu did,” coach Gregg Popovich said. “He gives us that little bounce.”

Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV (1) reacts after dunking the ball in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Grizzlies Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn.

Brandon Dill /Associated Press

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Nobody is expecting Walker to become the next Manu Ginobili. That is an impossible order for any 22-year-old.

In the wake of Derrick White’s season-ending ankle injury, Walker is doing a fine enough job just being himself.

Instead of elevating Walker to the starting lineup to replace White, who sprained his ankle in Wednesday’s victory at Washington, Popovich opted to leave Walker in place as a spring-loaded, second-unit fire starter.

In three games since White went down, Walker is averaging 21.7 points while hitting 25 of 46 from the field and 10 of 19 from 3-point range.


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Jeff McDonald

Jeff McDonald

San Antonio Express-News

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Lead Spurs beat writer for the San Antonio Express-News. Fun enthusiast. Can’t sing the blues all night long like he used to.