Talen Horton-Tucker wows teammates, coaches in first preseason game

Talen Horton-Tucker
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA – AUGUST 06: Talen Horton-Tucker #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot against the Houston Rockets in the second half at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 6, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)

There wasn’t much to take away from the Los Angeles Lakers’ 87-81 win in their first preseason game of the new season. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marc Gasol, and Markieff Morris were all held out for rest, giving the Lakers ample time to play some of their younger players alongside new additions like Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder, and Wesley Matthews.

One thing that did stand out was the play of second-year guard Talen Horton-Tucker. THT, who spent most of the season in the G League last year, recorded 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals on the night, tantalizing everyone with his display despite having some trouble finishing around the basket and shooting the ball.

The 20-year-old was seemingly on all of his teammates’ minds after the game, receiving praise from head coach Frank Vogel and fourth-year vet Kyle Kuzma during media availability after the game:

Talen, who was the 46th overall pick in the draft last year, also got the LeBron and Jared Dudley Twitter treatment after the game:

We should all temper expectations given this was just a preseason game but it’s easy to see why Horton-Tucker’s teammates and coaches are enamored with him. His physical tools, ball-handling, and generally good instincts and pace of play are just unique attributes for a player of his age. If he consistently is able to score the basketball, there is a real chance that he can have a very long career in the league.

For now, the Lakers will be bringing him along slowly, given the talent available on the roster, an asset for Horton-Tucker to learn from. Considering the maturity and poise he showed going against a couple of stars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, it’s only a matter of time before he forces his coaches’ hands to play him more.

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