With the NBA draft quickly approaching there are many interesting things to look at and question with this draft class. Who will be the next superstar? Who will be the biggest bust? But most importantly, who will be the biggest steal of the 2018 NBA Draft. Last year we saw the blossoming of rising superstar Donovan Mitchell right before our eyes. Mitchell, of course, had a phenomenal year earning himself All-NBA Rookie First Team honors by leading all rookies in points per game and leading the Utah Jazz to the second round of the playoffs. If it wasn’t for fellow rookie phenom Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, Mitchell would be a lock for rookie of the year. Coming into the season, however, not much was expected out of the 13th pick in last years draft. So looking ahead to next season who will show up and be the biggest steal in 2018?
The answer is 6’5” shooting guard out of the University of Miami Lonnie Walker IV. The kid can flat out ball, but put up less than stellar numbers in his only college season. His high school career was far more impressive. Walker was a standout at Pennsylvania basketball powerhouse Reading High, breaking the schools long time career points record that was held by former NBA star Donyell Marshall and leading his team to their first-ever state title. Walker was selected for the highly prestigious McDonald’s All-American Game where he played alongside the top high school players in the nation, many of whom are also going to be selected in this years NBA Draft. He was also selected for the Jordan Brand High School All-Star game where he took home co-MVP honors. Walker was also named the 2017 Mr. Pennsylvania Basketball. At Miami Walker averaged 11.5 points per game, not great. But he did have his flashes of brilliance scoring 25 against Louisville and hitting a game-winning 3 pointer as time expired against Boston College. I project that Lonnie will be able to continue growing throughout this offseason no matter where he ends up. The kid has tremendous upside and if he plays like he is capable of there is no doubt in my mind that in the right situation he can have a Donovan Mitchell type rookie year. His draft stock has already risen significantly since the NBA combine, and I feel that the best fit for him is the Philadelphia 76ers with the number ten pick in the draft who are in desperate need of a true number 2. Stay tuned for more updates before the NBA Draft on June 21st.