For the most part, teams use the preseason to develop chemistry and give the younger players an opportunity to showcase their growth. This has been on full display for the Los Angeles Lakers as Talen Horton-Tucker looks like a serious contributor for the team in just his second season.
The Lakers again chose to rest LeBron James and Anthony Davis in their second preseason game. This time also sitting Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews and Alex Caruso (strained hip flexor). Somewhat surprisingly, two-way players Kostas Antetokounmpo and Devontae Cacok were also ruled out.
“Due to the health and safety protocols of the league, those guys had an excused absence from this game,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said after his team’s second consecutive win over the L.A. Clippers.
It is unclear exactly what caused this for both young players, but in the current climate, most thoughts would obviously go toward the ongoing pandemic and each of them either testing positive or being in contact with someone who contracted the virus.
This is something that all teams will have to deal with throughout this season and that both Montrezl Harrell and Wesley Matthews recently talked about. Players will have to hold themselves accountable for following protocols and if they fail to do so, it could cause a major problem for themselves, their team and league as a whole.
Likewise, fellow new Laker Marc Gasol also spoke about teams and players needing to adjust to these new rules that are in place for this season. “That’s the way it’s going to be. The positive is more minutes for other guys; you’ve always got to look at the positive aspect of those things,” he said.
“You have to be ready to adapt, and I think that’s something we learned in the past seven-eight months, is how to adapt as fast as possible because everything is changing so fast. I think everyone is doing their best.”
Different states have different laws in place right now, but the players must be careful regardless, even though it could prevent them from doing what they normally would in different cities.
Wesley Matthews reveals Talen Horton-Tucker Caught Kawhi Leonard’s Attention
Horton-Tucker again had a great showing in the Lakers’ second preseason contest, finishing with 33 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals. But he had already caught the attention of a Clippers star after the first contest.
Matthews revealed that Kawhi Leonard inquired about the age of the Lakers’ second-year guard during the first preseason game. “Kawhi was like, ‘Wesley, Talen is 19?’ I’m like, ‘Huh? Nineteen?'” Matthews recalled.
“So I asked him and he was like, ‘Yeah, I just turned 20.’ I said, ‘Wow.’”
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