Los Angeles Lakers budding young star Talen Horton-Tucker has caught eyes from the beginning of the preseason and is now in a position to reflect on how he’s evolved as a player.
Horton-Tucker was part of the Lakers’ 2020 championship squad, although he did not receive much playing time during that run. This past season was a different story, however, as he got plenty of opportunities throughout the year with so many key players missing time due to injury.
The second-year guard averaged 9.0 points, 2.8 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game, which were all up significantly from his rookie season. He’s even shown some prowess on the defensive end with 1.3 steals per game.
Horton-Tucker showed flashes of his potential throughout the season, even hitting a go-ahead shot against the New York Knicks on May 11. This was his best stretch of the season, following up his 13-point, 10-assist 5-rebound outing against the Knicks with his highest-scoring game of the season, pouring in 23 points and 10 assists against the Houston Rockets.
Now that the season has come to an end, Horton-Tucker had some words to share on how he felt his growth and improvement all came together.
“I feel like when it starts slowing down you are seeing everything a step faster,” Horton-Tucker said. “You start realizing how guys are playing you a certain way. I feel like in my case, they were playing me this year to go to the basket a lot more. I started to see that early on,” said Horton-Tucker. “When it starts slowing down, I feel like everything opens up and unlocks another level to your game.”
Now that Horton-Tucker has reached free agency, he is expected to have no shortage of suitors with the Cleveland Cavaliers already being mentioned as one. He is a restricted free agent though, so the Lakers have the ability to match all offers and will likely do so to keep their young, talented guard around.
Horton-Tucker enjoyed learning from veterans
Regardless of what happens, Horton-Tucker is pleased with his Lakers tenure as it currently stands and enjoyed learning from the team’s veterans.
“I always say learning how to be a professional from every guy we had this year and every guy we had last year. Just seeing them with the class that they carried themselves with. I feel like it’s a great visual for me to see early on this early in my career, so I’m appreciative of it.”
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