Talen Horton-Tucker was the youngest Lakers player during their championship triumph in the Orlando bubble. He became the second-youngest player to win the NBA championship, aged only 19 years and 322 days when he lifted the trophy.
Despite not getting big minutes in the finals, Horton-Tucker proved his abilities in the regular season and convinced the world that he was a serious talent.
Talen Horton-Tucker played brilliantly in the preseason ahead of the 2020-21 campaign. His stellar performance there called for more attention and he became an integral part of the Lakers team for the season. Throughout the 2020-21 campaign, Tucker averaged 9.0 PPG on 45.8% shooting from the field.
His ability to drive past opponents and brilliance in the paint has won him praise from several NBA experts. This time, however, it was LA Lakers GM Rob Pelinka who spoke highly about the youngster. Speaking at a preseason presser, Pelinka said:
"There's nothing that Talen doesn't have to keep him from being an elite player. You 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."
Talen Horton-Tucker and his stint with the LA Lakers
Talen Horton-Tucker was a second-round pick in the 2019 draft. However, he has time and again proven that he should have been picked much higher courtesy of his brilliant performance with the Lakers. In his very first season, Tucker grabbed attention as he played some crucial games in the Orlando bubble for them.
Two years later, the Lakers have shown full confidence in the youngster, as they kept him in the franchise while deciding to let go of some crucial pieces like KCP, Caruso and Kyle Kuzma.
His offensive game was solid throughout the two seasons. However, Lakers GM Rob Pelink believes THT needs to work harder on his defense to excel into a superstar. Speaking about Talen during the preseason presser, Pelinka said:
"I think Talen's got to establish himself as a dominant defensive player. I think that's going to be the expectation from him... I think we want to see him grow as a playmaker. He knows he's got to slow his game down, but I think if he get's in the paint and if he has an open-vision, where he can see guys in the corners or open teammates when the defense collapses. I think growing in his reads, those are some of the areas that we see that he will have great success in and dimensions in his game this year for sure."
Talen Horton-Tucker is part of one of the most star-studded Lakers rosters in recent years. With the likes of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard, Tucker could play a lot fewer minutes this season. However, even being in the locker room with these legends could be a great experience for Tucker.
Follow us on Instagram for the latest NBA news, rumors and updates