While much of the focus for the Los Angeles Lakers has been on the new players brought in, it is a returning one who could make a huge difference in just how good the team will be. Talen Horton-Tucker was re-signed this offseason and should be in line for a much bigger role and could perhaps be a starter this year.
Horton-Tucker’s development will be closely watched as the team refused to include him in any trade talks as they view him as a big part of the team’s future. He showed flashes of what he can become last season and he has surely been hard at work this summer in order to take another leap in his third season.
Horton-Tucker recently appeared at the Chi-League Pro Am and it looks as if he has been making some improvements to all parts of his game, via Ball Is Life:
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 23, 2021
Of course, these Pro Am appearances can be hard to judge at times because you don’t really know the level of competition involved. In most cases, an NBA player should be dominant in these settings if they really belong in the league and that looked to be the case with Horton-Tucker here.
The two things he will need to improve coming into this season aew his 3-point shooting and his defense, and those were both on display in this clip. Most notable was a block he had on one player in which he just engulfed the layup attempt with both hands and took the ball from him.
Horton-Tucker also knocked down multiple threes in the clip, with many coming off the dribble. Of course, there were plenty of times he was attacking the rim as well which is the strongest part of his game, but his handle looks great and his jumper did look quicker than it has in previous years.
The young guard also looked noticeably slimmer in this clip which is a great sign that he has been working hard and could be a huge X-factor for the Lakers’ championship hopes in 2022.
Horton-Tucker on how Westbrook will affect role
With the addition of Russell Westbrook, who has a similar playing style to Horton-Tucker, many have questioned what role the 20-year-old will play on this year’s team. That was one of the things he addressed after re-signing with the team though.
“First, defensively just trying to be able to come in and just try to fill a void that we need defensively first,” Horton-Tucker said. “Then offensively, I feel like that will always come. I feel like me being on the floor with the great guys that we have, just going out there and creating, continuing to showcase whatever I can do. I feel like there’s gonna be an opportunity to fill a role with those guys.”
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