Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel pulled out a surprise by playing rookie Talen Horton-Tucker in Thursday’s huge win against the Houston Rockets. The former Iowa State Hawkeye did not disappoint in the short time he made an appearance. THT finished the game with five points and two steals. He led all Lakers bench players in the first half.
During the start of seeding games, there were many whispers about how much THT rounded out his game in bubble practices. He drew some great praise from the team’s veterans.
Asked Dion Waiters if anybody has impressed him in practice, guys that he may not have known as much about, and he cited both Kostas Antetokounmpo and Talen Horton-Tucker as having a “lot of upside.” (Both improved a lot with the @SouthBayLakers this year)
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) July 17, 2020
Since the start of the year, he’s transformed his body from a chubby 19-year-old to a more chiseled and mature frame. As stated, Coach Vogel not only has noticed what he has done physically, but his efforts between games are on the radar.
Frank Vogel on Talen Horton Tucker: “He plays beyond his years…I just wanted to give Talen a chance because he continues to prove himself in practice and I like what he brings to the table.” #Lakeshow
— Laurantine (@LoJoMedia) September 11, 2020
While it’s unrealistic to expect more of a role going into the remaining games in the playoffs, the mere fact that THT got an opportunity is an encouraging sign for the Lakers’ future. As both LeBron James and Anthony Davis grow older, it’s imperative to develop young talent beside them. But as we learned tonight, sometimes it’s what’s in front of us that’s there for progression and THT seems to notice this as well. Get those minutes, young man.