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Frank Vogel believes Lakers can ‘lean on’ Talen Horton-Tucker for scoring, playmaking when LeBron James sits

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Talen Horton-Tucker is LeBron James’ replacement confirmed.

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NBA: Preseason-Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Talen Horton-Tucker looked comfortable running the show for the Los Angeles Lakers in the preseason. Not only did he show that he’s capable of generating his own offense, but he also showed that he can get his teammates involved. Those attributes will be crucial to him getting playing time in his second year.

However, Frank Vogel thinks Horton-Tucker is equally capable of playing off of the ball.

“We’re a ball movement team, so whether he’s out there with LeBron or AD, he still gets the ball on second-side action and has shown to be very effective with that,” Vogel said. “And obviously what he did in the preseason games with those guys out has been very impressive.

“We like what he brings to the table if we’re asked to lean on him as a primary scorer (and) playmaker like we did in some of those preseason games, but he definitely has shown that he can be effective playing off of other guys as well.”

So, it sounds like the next step in Horton-Tucker’s development will involve him improving in the areas that would make him a threat off of the ball, like secondary playmaking and 3-point shooting, the latter of which he had no problem doing in the preseason.

Through four games, Horton-Tucker made seven of his 13 3-point attempts. It’s a small sample size, but even that small sample size is more encouraging than anything he showed in the G League last season. The growth is evident.

Horton-Tucker’s ability to get to the basket and make plays for others will get him some playing time this season, but if he wants to be a staple in Vogel’s rotation, and potentially a starter in the near future, he’s going to have to continue to show he doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective — and if he can do that, it’s curtains for the rest of the league.

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