One of the longest-standing summertime traditions for NBA fans is breaking down offseason footage, whether in empty gyms working out, or glorified pick-up games. With fans craving game action to evaluate how their favorite players have improved throughout the offseason, summer leagues and Pro-Ams are constant sources of attention.
For Talen Horton-Tucker — fresh off his new contract with the Lakers — the summer has been a bit of a roller coaster in that respect. Horton-Tucker made his Drew League debut earlier this month and put up a bit of a dud, finishing with three points in the game.
Shockingly, his career did not end after that one performance, however, as he popped up in his hometown Chicago to take part in the Dreamville Chi-League Pro-Am, and looked a lot more impressive, in multiple ways:
20 year old @Thortontucker back home in Chicago playing at Dreamville Chi-League #LakeShow :@WEGOTNEXTHOOPS1 pic.twitter.com/cemkloIy8v— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 15, 2021
Setting aside any sort of breakdown of his skills because, well, it’s a Pro-Am, the most notable takeaway from the video is that THT looks skinny!
Last season, Horton-Tucker was listed at 234 pounds, and it certainly seems like he’s slimmed down based on this video. What benefit that may have on-court during the season is unknowable right now, but being skinnier and healthier should be better for long-term durability when it comes to being available on a night-to-night basis. It’s also something he said he was committed to doing after re-signing in Los Angeles.
“Just trying to keep my body in shape is something that I could do better also,” Horton-Tucker said as part of some extended comments on what he wanted to improve this summer.
Horton-Tucker’s role on this Lakers team will be a fluid one this year. Last year, he played some point guard when injuries left the team without any other options. This upcoming season, it seems more likely he’d see minutes as a small forward than at point guard, based on roster construction.
More than just a change in role, though, Horton-Tucker’s change in minutes could be the biggest positive of him losing weight. With more minutes likely to be allotted to him, the wear and tear on the body will increase. Being healthier overall will help minimize the everyday grind of the season. All of this is also underlined by the fact that he’s 20 years old with a changing body. That he’s made a commitment to changing his body at that age is also impressive, and a continuation of the progress he’s made every season since being drafted.
Now, if he can also add that 30-foot pull-up 3-pointer he flashed in the Pro-Am to his game as well, then the Lakers would really be in business next season.
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