Lakers News: Talen Horton-Tucker ‘Challenged’ To Be ‘That Guy’ On Defense
Talen Horton-Tucker, LeBron James, Lakers
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the Los Angeles Lakers saying goodbye to Alex Caruso, Kenativious Caldwell-Pope and Wesley Matthews, head coach Frank Vogel needs to find a player on the current squad to step up on the defensive side of the basketball floor.

That guy appears to be Talen Horton-Tucker. The young guard has made quite an impression during his first two seasons with the Lakers, and now he’ll have the added pressure of being the Lakers’ go-to guy on defense.

Vogel recently made an appearance on Spectrum SportsNet’s “LakeShow” podcast with Chris McGee and Allie Clifton and made some interesting comments about Horton-Tucker’s growth.

“You talk about the defensive end and who’s gonna be that guy? He’s been challenged,” Vogel said. “This is a big growth season for him. He has the ability, the last two years he’s been a young player, he’s gotten a little bit better as we’ve gone. He’s one of those guys that looking at KCP and Alex not being here, can you step up and fill into that role of guarding some of the other best players?”

“Internal confidence goes a long way and what you love about him is he does have that humility and that demeanor of being a sponge and knowing he’s a young player and wanting to get better and have a whatever I can do to help the team type of mindset. He’s got the right attitude but he’s also got great tremendous internal confidence and guts to take the shot you were referring to, to go into traffic and get to the basket in a fearless manner and improve the decisions he’s making once he gets there. So there’s a lot there. We feel like he’s gonna improve his 3-point shooting this year both with the work and the shot selection and he’s gonna have opportunities to really compete on the defensive end against some great players.”

Although Horton-Tucker has shown flashes of brilliance on both ends of the basketball floor, the 20-year-old still has a long way to go to live up to expectations. Horton-Tucker was thought to be the player to watch last season, with the coaching staff so high on his potential to contribute to the squad consistently.

One issue Horton-Tucker could face is finding playing time with so many new faces on this team, including his friend Kendrick Nunn. As a result, he could be a bit further down the depth chart this season than his first two, which would make it difficult to improve his game if he can’t get on the floor.

Last season, Horton-Tucker averaged 9.0 points, 2.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game while shooting 45.8 percent from the floor and 28.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Anthony Davis looking great in workouts

Vogel also recently gave an update on how Anthony Davis is looking after his offseason workout program and the head coach is extremely excited for this season after seeing his star big man.

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