When the Los Angeles Lakers signed guard Lonnie Walker IV as a free agent over the summer, plenty of fans could barely stifle a yawn.
He had shown some potential as an athletic scorer in four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, but he had never been consistent on either end, and he had never reached 43 percent field-goal shooting in any one season.
But this season, he seems to be blossoming, averaging 16.6 points per game while hitting 47.7 percent from the field and 36.3 percent from 3-point range.
His defense, which has been prone to lapses of inattention or apathy, has improved, and while he isn't a stopper, he isn't quite the liability some considered him to be in the past.
Walker is on a one-year taxpayer mid-level exception contract, and in a recent ESPN article, he expressed an interest in staying with the Lakers past this season.
Better yet, the Lakers may have the resources within the constraints of the salary cap to make that interest a reality.
With LeBron James nearing his 38th birthday, Los Angeles needs as many productive young players as possible, especially on the offensive end. If Walker keeps up his current level of play, and the team retains him, he could help make James' final years with the team easier on him.
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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire