On a team with few of them, the young Lakers on this year’s roster have a golden opportunity to learn from some of the greatest players in the league’s history. Whether it’s LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard or Anthony Davis, among others, there are any number of players to impart their wisdom on players like Talen Horton-Tucker, Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn and Austin Reaves.
For Horton-Tucker, an injury has prevented him from appearing on the court but it hasn’t stopped him from learning from those veterans.
“Absolutely. I’ve always said that just being around a group like this is going to be key for my growth,” Horton-Tucker said after practice last week. “Just being able to watch and be around guys like this has been great for me.”
Even in the offseason, Monk mentioned an excitement to work with someone like Russell Westbrook while Rajon Rondo has talked about how curious Reaves has been during his brief time on the Lakers. It’s been clear that the young Lakers are equally aware of the opportunity available to them and have seized it.
Horton-Tucker’s excitement, though, had to be placed on hold as an injury delayed his regular season debut. The third-year guard, though, is making strides to a return and expects to be able to hit the ground running once he returns to the court.
“I just want to be able to get out there and get a feel for myself,” Horton-Tucker said. “See where I am mentally and my conditioning and things like that, to make sure I’m actually ready to go play. So I just want to take it a day at a time.”
Despite being the youngest player on the roster, there are big expectations for Horton-Tucker this season. It places him in a unique spot of being able to absorb all the information and advice given to him while also simultaneously contributing at a high level.
After being forced into a lot of absorbing and little applying, Horton-Tucker should soon be back on the court for the purple and gold after being recently cleared to return to the court. His return, along with James’ imminent return, could each serve as big boosts for the Lakers, especially if Horton-Tucker is able to apply some of the new lessons learned to his game.