SAN ANTONIO – Lonnie Walker knows expectations are sky-high for him this season, but the second year guard understands nothing will be given to him this season with the Spurs.
"Going into this year, it's not about how many minutes am I going to get it. It's how many minutes am I going to earn," Walker said.
Walker is part of the Spurs' youth movement that includes a log jam at the guard position.
Patty Mills and DeMar DeRozan are also entrenched veterans. Walker hopes a strong training camp and preseason will help him get early minutes.
#Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV talks Tim Duncan joining coaching staff (w/video)...teams mix of youth/veteran...expectations for season: 'It's not about how many minutes I am going to get, It's about how many minutes am I going to earn.' (📹@markmendez) #KSATsports #KSATnews #NBA pic.twitter.com/OuKCTgum0A— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) October 3, 2019
"That's what I'm willing to do during this training camp and during practice," Walker said. "Just play my tail off and hopefully when the time comes, I'll be ready, whenever it is."
The start of Walker's rookie campaign was plagued by an injury that kept him out for several months. It set Walker back, and he was never able to fully crack the rotation.
The Spurs are anxious to see what Walker can do this season.
At media day on Monday, veteran forward Rudy Gay said Walker has taken major strides to contribute this season.
The same goes for the other key, young members of the team: Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and Bryn Forbes.
"I feel like this is a new Spurs way," Walker said. "A new team based off of just athleticism and being able to put that pace on the defensive transition side."
Head coach Gregg Popovich said Monday that Murray is one of the fastest players he's ever coached, but Walker might be faster.
Walker has remained steadfast in his approach. He said another goal is to learn and take in as much as possible from the veterans.
"You need to have veterans on your team to keep you in line. To stay on your tail and make sure you're doing the right thing. And I think we have the right people," said Walker. "We have LA who's an All-Star. Rudy Gay who's an All-Star. DeMar DeRozan who's an All-Star."
When it comes to learning how to play the game. There will be no bigger asset than new assistant coach Tim Duncan.
Walker worked with Duncan last season and anticipates the Spurs icon will be instrumental in his growth and development.
"He's one of a kind. He loves the game so much," said Walker. I'm just happy that he's still with the Spurs organization, and he's helping us rookies and two-year players, so I see that as a pretty big deal."