The Los Angeles Lakers somehow boast one of the deeper rosters in the league just three months removed from their recent championship.
Vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka was able to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with even more talent and has the Lakers set up to repeat. Head coach Frank Vogel has demonstrated he is able to maximize production from his players, but now has the challenge of trying to find the right lineup combinations.
Lost in the shuffle of Los Angeles’s successful offseason is second-year guard Talen Horton-Tucker. Taken No. 46 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, Horton-Tucker is an intriguing player who may get extended looks due to the shortened offseason and Vogel has already pointed him out as someone who has had a strong training camp so far.
“I would say he continues to impress,” Vogel said. “The young man has a great attitude, a great spirit, comes to work every day with humility. He just goes out there and kicks peoples’ butts, quite frankly. He’s a heckuva talent.
“He’s had a great two days here, I’m coaching him harder than a lot of the veterans because I think he’s got a chance to be really good for us immediately. I couldn’t be happier with the start that he’s off to.”
Horton-Tucker made spot appearances during the 2019-20 season, and even got some brief action in the second round of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets. The guard appeared in Games 4 and 5 and flashed some of his slashing and scoring ability, while even showing how disruptive he can be defensively as he came up with a couple of steals.
Lakers players have also been previously complimentary of Horton-Tucker, with Anthony Davis praising him for not being afraid to play in big moments. Horton-Tucker sounds like he could be making a case to crack the regular rotation, and that speaks volumes given the depth and talent on the team.
Horton-Tucker testament to Lakers scouting department
Due to the Davis trade, the Lakers will be short on draft assets in the near future, but that might not be an issue due to how well the scouting department has done in recent years.
Horton-Tucker was considered a bit of a project when he was drafted, so seeing him contribute in his sophomore season would go a long way in validating his selection. Of course, the Lakers have also seen success in the late first- and second-round with picks such as Kyle Kuzma, Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac and Jordan Clarkson.
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