After winning the 2020 NBA Championship, the Los Angeles Lakers chose not to just run things back and instead made major changes to the roster. But after last season’s disappointing finish, the Lakers’ front office chose to again make major moves with only three players from last season’s roster returning: LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Talen Horton-Tucker.
James and Davis are obviously expected, but Horton-Tucker had emerged as the team’s lone young prospect and was someone the team saw great things in. The team showed as much when they signed him to a new three-year deal this offseason, but it has to be a bit surprising to deal with such roster turnover so early in his career.
But Horton-Tucker is taking everything in stride and is using this to see the business side of the NBA, which is always important.
“Just learning that it’s the NBA. Just being around, having different teammates and just seeing the guys that came in and left out this locker room it’s just showing me that it’s a business side to everything. So just being able to be here, I’m appreciative of it still.”
Many young players only focus on the basketball side, not having much experience dealing with business and often times those things can affect their play on the court. But Horton-Tucker has been fortunate enough to spend his first seasons on a Lakers team with championship expectations and those teams bring about a much different experience than starting your career on a losing team.
Horton-Tucker has seen up close and personal how quickly things can change and players can move on. Roster turnover in this league seems to be at an all-time high and the young guard has witnessed firsthand how teammates can become opponents just like that.
But for Horton-Tucker, these roster changes have opened up the opportunity for an even bigger role this season for the Lakers. Whether he is starting or coming off the bench, Horton-Tucker will be one of the team’s most important players and is absolutely crucial to the Lakers’ success this year.
Pelinka wants Horton-Tucker to be ‘dominant’ defensive player
One area where Horton-Tucker can make a huge impact is on the defensive end of the floor. The Lakers have lost their best perimeter defenders and Horton-Tucker could become the team’s primary option against the opposition’s best wing, which is something Rob Pelinka wants to see this season.
“I think Talen has got to establish himself as a dominant defensive player,” Pelinka said. “I think that is going to be the expectation on him. You guys know Frank Vogel prides himself on that end. He builds everything with his defense. There’s nothing Talen doesn’t have to keep him from being an elite player. We all know about his publicized incredible wingspan. Broad shoulders, quickness, athleticism.
“If he makes a choice to dominate you on the defensive end with his body and his length and his athleticism, that could be a nightmare for opponents.
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