In dealing for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, the Los Angeles Lakers gave away their first round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
However, they were determined to get some talent and would ultimately purchase the No. 46 pick from the Orlando Magic and select Talen Horton-Tucker.
Horton-Tucker was a very intriguing prospect because of his unusual measurables and skillset. Though he is only 6’4″, he has a 7’1″ wingspan and is capable of creating shots for himself and others as well as guard multiple positions. He was also the youngest college prospect in the 2019 NBA Draft, so he seems to be a player with a ton of potential. The Lakers see that and at least some of his fellow rookies see it as well.
The NBA recently conducted its 2019-20 Rookie Survey and though he didn’t place first, Horton-Tucker did receive votes in the biggest steal category:
Others receiving votes: Nickeil Alexander-Walker (17), New Orleans; Brandon Clarke (21), Memphis; Jaxson Hayes (8), New Orleans; Talen Horton-Tucker (46), L.A. Lakers; Keldon Johnson (29), San Antonio; Mfiondu Kabengele (27), LA Clippers; Romeo Langford (14), Boston; Jordan Poole (28), Golden State; Cam Reddish (10), Atlanta; Luka Samanic (19), San Antonio; Admiral Schofield (42), Washington; Quinndary Weatherspoon (49), San Antonio; Dylan Windler (26), Cleveland
No one quite knows what to expect from Horton-Tucker as there just aren’t many players with his game and skill set. He didn’t play in the 2019 Summer League due to injury so there is nothing to go on other than what he did in college and it’s impossible to know how that will translate to the NBA.
For his part, Horton-Tucker said he would like to model his game after LeBron James and Draymond Green and one can see what he’s going for. Though much shorter, he has a similar body type to someone like Green and he does thrive as a creator and playmaker. His defensive potential also lends itself to both Green and James who both could guard any number of positions at their best.
Bol Bol and Kevin Porter Jr. being at the top of this category makes a lot of sense as both were talked about as potential lottery picks before dropping substantially.
However, Talen-Horton is such a mystery and anything he does will be under the biggest possible spotlight with the Lakers, so he has the chance to prove he should’ve been taken much higher.