With precious few ways to add to the roster without sacrificing cap space, the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired the No. 46 overall pick from the Orlando Magic for cash considerations and a 2020 second-round pick. They would use this pick on Talen Horton-Tucker from Iowa State.
Shams Charania of The Athletic was first to report the acquisition, while Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news of the pick:
Sources: The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired the No. 46 overall pick in the NBA draft from Orlando. Magic receive future pick and money.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 21, 2019
The Lakers are focused on Iowa State guard Talen Horton-Tucker, per source.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 21, 2019
It was known heading into tonight’s draft that the Lakers would be doing whatever they could to move into the second round, so that mission goes accomplished.
Ironically, No. 46 was also where the Washington Wizards selected Jordan Clarkson and later sent him over to the Lakers in a similar deal. Clarkson would go on to vastly outplay that draft position (and the amount of cash the Lakers paid to acquire him) and play a key role in the trade that would help open up enough cap room for the Lakers to eventually sign LeBron James.
For the Lakers, this move fills a need because, well, they currently only employ three rotation players and might very well only employ three total players should they figure out a way to send Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones somewhere in an effort to open up max cap space.
Our own Christian Rivas wrote about Horton-Tucker as a player the Lakers should buy a pick for heading into the draft:
Despite being relatively short for the shooting guard position (6’4”) and having a stocky frame (235.4 lbs.), Tucker moves well with the ball in his hands and is one of the most skilled shot-creators in the draft. However, due to his athletic shortcomings, he struggles to stay in front of his man on the defensive end, which is a big reason as to why his draft stock is so low.
Still, if Tucker is on the board in the mid-second-round, the Lakers would be wise to gamble on his upside. Tucker just turned 18 in November, and has all the physical tools to excel at the next level. For example, despite being 6’4”, Horton has a 7’1” wingspan and massive 9.75” hands. To put that into perspective, Kawhi Leonard also has 9.75” hands.
He might not be able to come in and make an impact right away, but that’s to be expected of a player drafted late in the second round. A season in the G League with the South Bay Lakers should help Tucker figure out his slow shooting stroke and conditioning.
The always excellent Mike Schmitz of ESPN is also high on him:
Talen Horton-Tucker is a first round talent. Unique player at 6-4, 240, 7-1 wingspan with ball skills. Really needs to continue improving his body and decision making but the ability is there. Interested to see how he develops in LA.— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) June 21, 2019
It should also be noted, perhaps not surprisingly, that Horton-Tucker is represented by Klutch Sports, who also represents Lakers forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The nice thing about a second-round pick as we understand it is: It doesn’t impact the salary cap more than an empty roster spot would until the player said selection is used on signs their contract. Seeing as the Lakers are going to be stretched pretty thin to fill out the roster completely, such a move is pretty critical to their efforts. It also replenishes the team’s reserves of young players with potential upside to possibly reinforce the team down the road.
It’s unlikely he does much to impact the team on the court right away, but it is nice to see the Lakers flexing their financial muscle to creatively find a way to fill out the roster.