When looking at the Los Angeles Lakers roster as currently constructed, one major concern is the team’s perimeter defense. The team lost its three best defenders from last season in Alex Caruso, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Dennis Schroder, and now a lot of that pressure to defend could fall on young, promising guard Talen Horton-Tucker.
This season, the Lakers will be looking for a lot from the third-year guard as he will likely be taking on a bigger role. While much attention has been placed on his offensive skill set, he has also shown flashes on defense with excellent length and strength for his size.
Horton-Tucker understands what is needed from him and plans on helping fill the need for the Lakers defensively, first and foremost. “I still want to, first, defensively just get better all around and try to use my youth and my length, just trying to get after it. Kind of fill in the need for that,” Horton Tucker said.
“Also, I want to continue to improve my 3-point shooting, just all around continue my playmaking and a lot of different things like that. Just being able to grow around this group is gonna be amazing for me.”
Ever since Frank Vogel took over as head coach, the Lakers have been a defense-focused team. Even through major injuries to Anthony Davis and LeBron James last season, the team was still able to finish first in defensive rating, and Horton-Tucker believes the Lakers coach will continue to help him grow on that end.
“Just being able to play under Coach Frank I feel like he doesn’t let you forget the defensive principles we have,” Horton-Tucker added. “So I feel like just trying to chase guys and also my off-ball, being more aware off-ball is something that I’ve been trying to key into watching a lot of film and things like that. So I feel like I’ve been doing the right things, just trying to continue to keep my body in shape is something that goes into that also.”
Horton-Tucker, Kent Bazemore, Kendrick Nunn, and Trevor Ariza represent the Lakers’ best perimeter defending options. The young guard understands how important that side of the ball is to the team’s success. As such, he is focused and ready to take on that challenge this season.