Checking in on South Bay: Talen Horton-Tucker

Most Interesting Lakers No. 12: Talen Horton-Tucker is an enigma ...
(Image/ Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images)

Horton-Tucker’s Progression in the Second Half of the Season:

In the second half of the season, his shooting increased to 46.6% and from beyond the arc, 33.1%. His improvement was clear to see as he set 20+ points in 13 games. Including a huge 37-point outing against the Memphis Hustle on January 17.

His scoring arsenal mainly consists of strong bursts to the rim and smooth mid-range jumpers. Opportunities and space are created from his quick, dynamic handles at the top of the key. Which are particularly eye-opening considering his size. He converts from range a couple of times a game too, with a controlled, speedy release.

In the 5 games in March, leading up to the suspension, Horton-Tucker was firing on all cylinders. Averaging 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1 steal per game. On 48.2% from the field, and a much improved 38.9% from 3-point land.

There’s more to his game than just scoring though. Holding a very large, versatile frame, he can dominate the boards when need be. Especially on the offensive end, where’s he’s averaging 1.3 offensive rebounds per game. His ability to quarterback and dish out dimes is impressive too.

It’s debatable as to what his preferred position is. It looks to be setting the pace at point guard that appears to suit his skill-set the most. Then, he does show flashes of promise at the 2, off-the-ball. Additionally, he could play out of the wing if need be.

Whilst he holds offensive versatility, he possesses it on the defensive end too. His solid physique and quick lateral movement allows him to guard multiple positions. But then his length allows him to clean up in the paint, and just be a general nuisance for his opponents. In fact, his defensive rating of 112.4 outweighs his offensive rating of 110 on the season.

Horton-Tucker’s 3.2 turnovers are a slight concern. However, being as young as he is, whilst dishing out 4 assists per game, is bound to result in a few mistakes. In time, as the game slows down and his game matures, that number should drop naturally.

South Bay haven’t exactly had the greatest season too, which may hinder some of his numbers. At the time of the suspension, the team sat 19-25. 3rd bottom of the G League’s Western Conference.

The majority of his offensive damage is done within the arc. Both his 7.2 3-point attempts through the month of March and his 6.1 attempts from range on the season is probably slightly excessive. Not a major forte of his game, as his attempts per game drops his conversion rate (30.9%) should increase. Bumping his productivity up.

There are many more strengths to Talen Horton-Tucker’s game than weaknesses. Without a doubt. Whilst he’s an exciting prospect, time in the G League will do him good. He’s still very raw at 19-years-old, and is experimenting with his game. But when he develops further, he could be a force to be reckoned with.

With his natural talent and versatility, he should have a successful career in the NBA, once his G League tenure is over. The question is, will that be with the Lakers, or will his promise provide trade value as the franchise looks to stay competitive moving forward?


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