Talen Horton-Tucker is perhaps one of the most intriguing players in the NBA this season. While he might spend time in the NBA G League, he may also be able to announce himself as one of the best rookies in the 2019-2020 season.
After deciding to be a one-and-done, spending only one year in college, Talen Horton-Tucker made himself eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft. He was selected in the second round by the Orlando Magic, but he won’t be donning their jersey this season. So who does Talen Horton-Tucker play for? The answer is the LA Lakers.
The Lakers had protracted trade negotiations to secure the services of Anthony Davis. The Davis trade involved Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart heading to the New Orleans Pelicans. It also involved the Lakers losing their 2019 NBA Draft pick. As a result, they had to make a trade to secure a rookie talent this season. The Talen Horton-Tucker trade would bring that rookie talent to the Staples Center.
Talen Horton-Tucker’s position of shooting guard is already crowded on the Lakers roster. The likes of Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Avery Bradley might be natural starters ahead of Horton-Tucker. Frank Vogel might send him to the South Bay Lakers to get consistent game time unless he can force his way into the team.
To understand more about what Talen Horton-Tucker adds to the Lakers, we need to understand more about his history.
Talen Horton-Tucker was born in Chicago, Illinois on 25 November 2000. Even before arriving at the Lakers, Talen Horton-Tucker has managed to make the news. The first Talen Horton-Tucker news headlines appeared when St. Matthias School in Chicago retired Horton-Tucker’s number 5 jersey. When your elementary school retires your jersey, you know you’re onto big things.
For high school, Horton-Tucker moved from the North Side of Chicago to the South Side. He attended Simeon Career Academy. Talen Horton-Tucker led Simeon Career Academy to three consecutive state championships. In his senior year, Talen Horton-Tucker averaged 20.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. It’s no doubt that colleges across the nation were noticing Horton-Tucker.
After completing high school, Talen Horton-Tucker was rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN, Rivals.com, and 247Sports. He was also named the 2018 USA Today Illinois Player of the Year. With many colleges to choose from, Talen Horton-Tucker enrolled with Iowa State University.
Talen Horton-Tucker made the step up to college basketball without a hurdle. He became the first Iowa State Cyclone freshman to score 26 point games in two of their first five games. By the end of the season, Horton-Tucker had averaged 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. At the end of the season, he decided that he would be a one-and-done and he enlisted himself in the 2019 NBA Draft.
While there was always a risk of being undrafted, Talen Horton-Tucker trusted that he had what it takes to be an NBA basketball player. Talen Horton-Tucker’s NBA draft experience would be a positive one. And it would soon get better still.
Going into the draft, Talen Horton-Tucker drew attention to his 7.1” wingspan while being 6.4” tall. His basketball abilities were proven in both high school and college. Ultimately, the Orlando Magic made Talen Horton-Tucker NBA draft pick number 46 overall. Being a second round pick in an NBA Draft at 18 years old is a truly impressive accomplishment.
Talen Horton-Tucker wouldn’t be with the Orlando Magic for long. He was immediately signed by the LA Lakers on 20 June 2019 in exchange for a 2020 NBA Draft second round pick and cash considerations.
Los Angeles Lakers
The fact that the Lakers news sites announced the signing of Talen Horton-Tucker on the same day as the draft means that the Lakers had been keeping an eye on him since before the draft.
One part of the deal to bring Anthony Davis to the Lakers resulted in the Lakers giving up their 2019 NBA Draft pick. This meant that they would only be able to sign one of the talents in the draft. It seems like Talen Horton-Tucker was one such talent that they identified.
In Talen Horton-Tucker, Lakers fans will be wondering what type of player they signed. The Las Vegas Summer League is often an opportunity to see the younger talent on the roster before the main Lakers schedule in the regular season.
Lakers fans might need to wait a little longer for Talen Horton-Tucker’s Lakers debut. Horton-Tucker suffered a stress reaction in his right foot, which ruled him out of the Las Vegas Summer League. This would have been an ideal opportunity to stake his claim to first team minutes this season.
Talen Horton-Tucker’s contract is for two years and is valued at $2,400,000. While he is signed with the LA Lakers, he might be sent to the NBA G League to play for the South Bay Lakers. The Lakers have successfully used the South Bay Lakers to develop their talents. Alex Carusso is a great example of a player who leveled up after spending time in the NBA G League. That being said, Talen Horton-Tucker is a very ambitious player.
Make no mistake though, sometimes you need to take a step back to take two steps forward. If Talen Horton-Tucker warms the bench too much this season, he might not develop his game enough. With minimal minutes, his points, rebounds and assists per game stats might get off to a very low start.
It will be interesting to see if he can push his way into Frank Vogel’s team ahead of the veterans on the roster. With the Lakers hoping to break their six-season NBA Playoff drought, Vogel could rely on his experienced heads this season.
Talen Horton-Tucker could force his way into the team through his defensive abilities. Frank Vogel is known for the defensive strength of his teams. Horton-Tucker is a strong defender and was one of the top defenders during college. Vogel might want to leverage this during the season as well. To find out more about Talen Horton-Tucker and the Lakers, follow the Lakerholicz website. With recent partnership with BetMGM, support us by visiting BetMGM for a seamless betting and gaming experience.
Without having made an NBA debut, Talen Horton-Tucker’s stats are confined to his solitary college season. Talen Horton-Tucker will hope to either match, improve on, or at least maintain, his college average of 11.8 points11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. One thing is for sure, Talen Horton-Tucker’s career may just land up being one for the books.