When Talen Horton-Tucker was available in the 2019 NBA Draft, Los Angeles Lakers brass moved quickly. A fast transaction with the Orlando Magic brought the Chicago native to the city of angels. Two years and a big contract later, he’s primed for a big role. Not just any big role, but the most important role outside of their star trio.
All summer, Talen Horton-Tucker has talked about improving his shooting and defense. The Lakers pride themselves on their defense. They are a team that thrives not only on their physicality, but also IQ. The limited time and reps have crippled THT’s development in these areas. It’s why Head Coach Frank Vogel has emphasized these areas. Coach Vogel spoke with Spectrum Sports with more details:
“Let’s talk about THT,” Vogel stated to the two hosts, “You talk about the defensive end, and who’s going to be that guy, he’s been challenged… Yes, we did (invest in him). For good reason. He has the ability, the last few years as a young player he’s gotten a little bit better as we’ve gone, but he’s one of those guys, that looking at KCP and Alex not being here, can you step up and fill into that role of guarding some of the other best players.”
Talk about on-the-job training! Fortunately, it won’t be his first time at the rodeo.
It’s a great thing that Vogel prefers to throw him in the fire. The Lakers are a team without the prototypical small forward. THT’s tools will allow him to guard down in certain matchups. He has the length and frame to handle perimeter players — it’s just all a matter of film work and knowledge.