With the Los Angeles Lakers making so many moves this offseason, there hasn’t been much discussion on those returning who were already on the roster. The Lakers have a couple of young players who still have room to grow and none more so than second-year guard Talen Horton-Tucker.
Head coach Frank Vogel surprised everyone when he turned to the then-rookie for a brief spell during the playoffs last season, and Horton-Tucker made it look like a genius decision. Now there is budding optimism he can grow into a real contributor, and the coaching staff has been pushing him to reach that level in training camp.
“Coaches being a little bit harder on me, I feel like is good for my development,” Horton-Tucker said. “I just feel like anything the coaches or players say to me is good. So I listen to it and I appreciate it.”
As for exactly how the coaches are pushing him, Horton-Tucker explained, “Just making sure I’m doing the right thing. Playing a different position than I’m used to, I feel like he has to coach me a little bit harder than some of the other guys who have done it before. I feel like it’s been good.”
And Vogel has undoubtedly heaped praise on Horton-Tucker as well, saying he has looked great in camp so far while also noting the changes he’s seen from when he first came into the league just over a year ago.
“I can say that back then his body looked different than it does today, and his 3-point shot looked different than it does today,” Vogel noted. “Those are the two biggest things he was able to change in his first year, mostly in the G League. I think there’s a ton of confidence that has been brought with those two changes.”
That confidence has been on full display in two preseason games as Horton-Tucker helped lead the Lakers to consecutive wins over the L.A. Clippers in games both LeBron James and Anthony Davis did not play.
“I just want to come in and do whatever they ask me,” Horton-Tucker said. “Whatever I can do to help the team is something I want to do. Just being able to get the opportunity to do that would be my main goal for this year. And I want to win another championship. It’s going to be hard, but it’s something I want to do.”
Vogel believes Horton-Tucker can ‘immediately’ contribute
Despite all of the veterans on the roster with championship aspirations, Vogel is not limiting Horton-Tucker’s ability to contribute to this Lakers team.
“I’m coaching him harder than a lot of the veterans because I think he’s got a chance to be really good for us immediately,” Vogel said. “I couldn’t be happier with the start that he’s off to.”
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