A few years ago, a clip of Reggie Evans being stunned to learn, mid-game, that Giannis Antetokounmpo was only 20 years old went viral. During last night’s Lakers game, a similar moment may have happened between Kawhi Leonard and Talen Horton-Tucker.
Horton-Tucker was a standout in that Lakers’ 87-81 win over the Clippers with 19 points and 9 rebounds, and continued to impress his teammates and coaches in the process, but it’s not just members of the Lakers organization that are seeing something special from the kid.
After the team’s training camp practice on Saturday, Lakers guard Wesley Matthews said that Leonard was also intrigued enough to ask Matthews about the sophomore guard.
“Hey Wesley, Talen is 19?” Matthews recalled Leonard asking him as they played. Matthews, who is quickly establishing himself as one of the most candid players on the Lakers, admitted he had no idea who Horton-Tucker was until he joined the organization, and that he didn’t know how old he was until he went and asked Horton-Tucker, mid-game, after Leonard asked him.
“I’m like ‘Huh? 19?’ So I asked (Talen), and he said ‘yeah, I just turned 20,’ and I was like ‘wow,” Matthews said. And we can safely add him to the list of Lakers people who are loving what they see from the youngest player on the team.
“Special is definitely the word to describe his game. He’s young, but he’s got all the tools. He’s a dog, he’s tough on offense and defense. He’s crafty, he’s got some stuff to him, and he’s only going to get better,” Matthews said. “He’s learning from one of the best to ever touch a basketball (LeBron James), and he’s just going to continue to grind and continue to work. I’m excited to hopefully be a part of his growth process.”
Who knows if we’ll look back on this moment the way we do with Evans’ disbelief over how good Giannis already was at 20, but we at least learned two things: The Clippers’ cyborg star is both capable of being impressed, and does actually talk to people.
“I guess to certain people,” Matthews said, laughing. “I must be lucky.”