Heading into the 2019 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers were in search of second round picks to fill the roster after trading the No. 4 pick as part of the Anthony Davis trade.
While it took some time on June 20, the Lakers eventually traded their 2020 second round pick and future cash considerations to the Orlando Magic for their No. 46 pick.
Since second round picks do not impact a team’s cap space, the Lakers selected Talen Horton-Tucker.
With general manager Rob Pelinka in charge now, he discussed the thought process behind the Lakers trading for a second round pick, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“The draft room is always crazy and unpredictable, but we had a goal going in to acquire a second round pick. We feel we’ve done a really good job drafting players late in the first round and in the second round and we have a great development staff here, too. We hit our goal, so we’re excited.”
As Horton-Tucker is 6’4″ with an elite 7’1″ wingspan, Pelinka thinks the 18-year-old will provide them with versatility:
“What we liked about Talen is he’s from Chicago — he’s got a grit and grind to him. Just really long and versatile. Strong defender, playmaker. I think he’s going to be a really versatile player because his wingspan is elite. We see him as a guy who can switch, guard multiple players. He’s got a developing three-point shot, too. If he learns to do that, he can be a really, really strong guard in the league.”
Although some of the attention has been on Horton-Tucker’s connection to Klutch Sports, the Lakers ultimately selected an intriguing prospect. In Horton-Tucker’s lone season at Iowa State, he averaged 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.7 blocks.
During the team’s five-year rebuilding process through the NBA Draft, the scouting department earned high praise, especially for their late-first to early-second round picks.
As the Lakers were able to land another young prospect, their focus shifts to free agency. While it is unclear how much cap space the Lakers will have on June 30, they may be better off breaking it up and improving their depth.