One Western Conference executive still believes in Los Angeles Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker.
The executive pointed out to Heavy.com that Horton-Tucker has faced a lot of obstacles that may have contributed to him not developing as fast as many would have liked in his first three NBA seasons.
“I think, with Talen, obviously he did not get to where everyone wanted him to be that quickly,” the executive said. “But he is 21 years old. He is playing for the Lakers and development is not the biggest thing there. Every season he has been in the league, there has been COVID and the bubble and something that has gotten in the way of him making steps. But I think most of us would take him on our team in a minute. He is big (6-foot-4) and long, he can handle the ball, he can initiate the offense, he will be a good defender even if he is not there yet. He has value.”
Horton-Tucker had a down year in the 2021-22 campaign.
The third-year guard averaged a career-high 10.0 points per game, but he shot a career-worst 41.6 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from beyond the arc. He also added 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.
The Lakers are certainly hoping that Horton-Tucker will develop into something of a star, but the team has also prioritized using veterans in its rotation to try to build a championship group around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
During the 2021-22 season, the Lakers took the ball out of Horton-Tucker’s hands by pairing James and Russell Westbrook, two ball-dominant players, in the lineup.
Clearly, this Western Conference executive thinks Horton-Tucker can still become an impressive NBA player.
The 21-year-old is under contract for the 2022-23 season with the Lakers and has a player option for the 2023-24 season.
The Lakers are hoping that he will take the next step in the 2022-23 season, as they’d love to be able to lean on him when their star players aren’t on the floor.