2019-20 Lakers Season Preview: Talen Horton-Tucker

2018-19 NCAA Season Review

As a freshman at Iowa State, Talen Horton-Tucker made an immediate impact by averaging 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals in 27.2 minutes per game.

Horton-Tucker helped the Cyclones to a 23-12 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance as he was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team and an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention.

Horton-Tucker entered the 2019 NBA Draft as one of the youngest prospects available but also one of the most intriguing. Though he measures just 6’4″, he makes up for it with an impressive 7’1″ wingspan. He proved himself to be a good ballhandler and playmaker while having the defensive potential to guard multiple positions at Iowa State.

Though the Lakers had no draft picks, they made a trade with the Orlando Magic for the No. 46 pick to select Horton-Tucker, making him the team’s only rookie this season.

2019-20 NBA Season Outlook

Horton-Tucker is probably the biggest unknown on the Lakers roster for the 2019-20 NBA season. As a second round pick, expectations should be measured, but they have also had a lot of success in identifying talent at this point in the draft recently (including Jordan Clarkson in 2014).

Not helping matters is the fact that Horton-Tucker did not participate in Summer League due to a stress reaction in his right foot, so fans literally have very little to go on and have no clue what he brings to the table. But barring something unforeseen, he will likely spend much of his rookie season with the team’s G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers.

This team is full of veterans who are ready to compete and win a championship now. With Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all battling for minutes on the wing, Horton-Tucker has a big climb ahead of him if he plans on getting any meaningful minutes with this team.

The Lakers have done very well recently in using the G League to develop their young players. The likes of Clarkson, Ivica Zubac, and Alex Caruso have all benefitted greatly from their time. It will allow Horton-Tucker to develop his skills, define his role, and get the reps needed to be an eventual contributor when that time comes.

Horton-Tucker seems unlikely to be an immediate contributor unless he is far better than anyone realizes, but this will be an extremely important developmental year for him if he has any hopes of making a mark in the league.