Why Lakers See “Elite” Potential In Talen Horton-Tucker

Talen Horton Tucker, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

One of the players that the Los Angeles Lakers will be relying on to step into a bigger role this season will be Talen Horton-Tucker. The second-round pick, No. 46 overall, in the 2019 NBA Draft saw his role increase in his second season and is likely going to see it expand again.

Horton-Tucker has a lot of potential and Los Angeles is hoping that he realizes more of it this season. He turns 21-years old in November and is one of the few young players the Lakers have on their roster that will help carry the team through the regular season.

His per-game stats aren’t eye-popping, but his per-36 minute stats show just how much potential he has.

Last season, in his first chance with extended minutes, Talen Horton-Tucker had per-36 minute averages of 16.2 points, 5.0 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 0.6 blocks.

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There is a good chance that those averages rise in his third season. The Lakers are very high on him and are expecting a good season. Just how high they are on him may surprise you.

“There’s nothing Talen doesn’t have to keep him from being an elite player,” says Pelinka. Vogel plans to use more small lineups, with Anthony Davis at center, to get more shooting on the floor. “We got away from that last year,” says Vogel. “He’ll play more in the middle. You might see some centerless lineups, too. We have the type of team where we can really open the floor up.”

Based on that quote, the Lakers are going to be playing more small ball and positionless basketball. It is the type of scheme that Talen Horton-Tucker can thrive in, as he can fill numerous roles on the team.

He has great two-way potential, standing 6’4” with a 7’1” wingspan. He can defend virtually every position on the court with that size and length, and Frank Vogel plans on deploying him as such.

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He has to work on his jump shot, as he has made only 28.5 percent of his 3-point attempts in his career. But, the strides he made as a free throw shooter in his second season provide a lot of hope that he can turn things around from the 3-point line as well.

If he can show an improvement from the perimeter, he will be in line for major minutes with the Los Angeles Lakers prepared to unleash Anthony Davis at the center position more often this season.