Preseason stats are not taken seriously. But when a young talent erupts for 33 points against the LA Clippers, even if it’s preseason, the league is put on notice. Los Angeles Lakers youngster Talen Horton-Tucker began his rise in the preseason but has lived up to the hype in the regular season as well.
After playing just six games for the Lakers last season, coach Frank Vogel decided to give him a chance this season. Tucker has repaid the faith shown in him and has been brilliant off the bench for the Lakers. He is currently averaging only 8.1 points per game but is shooting 36.4% from three.
In their last game against the Rockets, he had an excellent cameo. He scored 17 points, had four steals and multiple highlight plays on both ends. This contribution ultimately led to an impressive 120-102 win for the Lakers.
The 20-year-old’s best position on the court is on the wing. Although he is just 6’4″, he has an incredible 7’1″ wingspan which allows him to guard taller players. Tucker also played power forward in G-League last season but is more accustomed to the wing spot. But unfortunately for him, those positions are occupied by LeBron James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Both James and Caldwell-Pope recently signed long-term deals. While he may not get starts in this stacked team, if he is consistent, his role off the bench is going to get bigger.
With Kyle Kuzma and Anthony Davis, Tucker can potentially form a Big 3 for the Lakers in the upcoming seasons. He has shown quality already with his limited playing time. So when the opportunity comes, Tucker can easily take over.
He is up for a new contract this summer and is likely to sign a cheap deal until 2023. After that, the Lakers can free cap space since LeBron and KCP have their contracts expiring. So if Tucker can continue to work hard and stay consistent, he is bound to get a deserved payday. It’s still early days for the youngster who is proving that he’s much more than just a second-round pick.
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