The Los Angeles Lakers weren’t messing around once things got serious in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla.
The team stuck to proven veterans throughout its championship run, which didn’t give Talen Horton-Tucker much time to showcase his talents.
However, it sounds like things could change drastically for the 20-year-old when the 2020-21 NBA season gets underway. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel hinted at some extended playing time for Horton-Tucker on Monday’s Zoom call.
“He continues to impress,” Vogel said. “The young man has a great attitude and a great spirit. He comes to work every day with humility, and he just goes out there and kicks people’s butts, quite frankly. He’s a heck of a talent. He’s had a great two days here. I’m coaching him harder than the rest of the players on the team, a lot of the veterans.
“I think he’s got a chance to be really good for us immediately, not down the road. I couldn’t be happier with the start that he’s off to.”
After winning it all back in October, Lakers assistant coach Mike Penberthy spoke with Lakers Daily about Horton-Tucker and how the coaching staff tried everything it could to get him on the floor in the bubble.
“Talen is my favorite player coming up,” Penberthy said. “He’s my favorite guy. He’s a guy I’m going to spend a lot of time with this offseason.
“If it wasn’t for the players that we had that were veterans, Talen would’ve played a lot more. We had discussions every day about getting Talen in the game more, but we just didn’t have time. We just couldn’t find time for him, but we were trying to.
“He’s a fantastic player. He’s going to have a great career.”
It certainly sounds as if Horton-Tucker has already won over the coaching staff as he heads into his second season with the team.
It’ll be interesting to see what his role will be on this team moving forward and whether he becomes a significant part of the rotation.