The Los Angeles Lakers’ roster underwent a serious overhaul this summer as only four players from last year’s team remain after the blockbuster trade for Russell Westbrook.
One of the players that remains though is Talen Horton-Tucker, who was a restricted free agent but signed a three-year contract to stay with the Lakers, the team that drafted him in the second round in 2019.
The Lakers made it clear that retaining Horton-Tucker was their priority after refusing to include the 20-year-old in trade offers for Kyle Lowry at the deadline this past season.
Now, it will be up to Horton-Tucker to prove the Lakers made the right decision by taking the next step and becoming a legit rotation player this summer.
It appears he is already in the gym putting in the work necessary to make that happen as he looked noticeably slimmer while playing in the Dreamville Chi-League in his hometown of Chicago this past week, via Ball Is Life:
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 15, 2021
Horton-Tucker stated at the beginning of the offseason that he was looking to work on his defensive ability as well as shooting, which are the two main things he needs to improve the most.
The guard still has a ton of upside and should be able to show that with increased minutes this season, especially after the successful summer he appears to be having.
Whether Horton-Tucker starts or comes off the bench remains to be seen, but one thing that is for sure is the Lakers will be depending on his young legs to help get through the regular season considering how old the rest of the roster is.
Horton-Tucker was focused on returning to Lakers in free agency
While the Lakers made it clear they wanted to retain Horton-Tucker in free agency, it appears the feeling was mutual as he stated he was focused on returning.
“I was pretty focused on trying to get back here,” Horton-Tucker said. “After the first day, I just wanted to make it an emphasis to get back so I was happy that we were able to get that done after the first day.”
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