Second-year Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker has consistently turned heads during the team’s preseason games, including a show-stopping 33 point, 10 rebound, 4 assist, and 4 steal game vs. the Clippers in his second start. In the process, he’s also showcased his unique skillset and key improvements from his rookie season.
In the following video, I detail those skills and growth.
So there you have it. Horton-Tucker adds another potential on-ball playmaker to the Lakers, especially out of the pick and roll where he’s shown a penchant for creating for both himself and teammates. He’s also displayed ongoing development with his passing anticipation and vision, notable improvement on his jumper with increased balance and fluidity in his mechanics, a Luka-esque combination of body control and understanding of leverage to create space on drives, all paired with a unique ability to create angles and finish in the paint. That’s all in addition to the off-ball movement skill he’s shown when called upon, another asset in the what should already be a very deadly Lakers’ transition attack, and last but not least, some serious defensive prowess with his reading of the game combined with his wingspan and quick hands, all of which should make him useful even if his role is reduced.
Horton-Tucker’s stellar play may have earned him rotational minutes in an otherwise stacked lineup, especially early on in the season as the Lakers continue to recover from the short turnaround (for more on how the team will contend with the short turnaround, check out my piece on it). But regardless of his playing time this season, it looks like the Lakers vaunted scouting and draft team have unearthed another gem. In a preseason that didn’t figure to have a lot to watch for, that’s worth celebrating.
Dr. Rajpal Brar has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for 1.5 years. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), and analyzes the Lakers from a medical perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and Laker Film Room. You can follow him on Twitter at@3cbPerformance.