It wasn’t long ago that not many people knew who Talen Horton-Tucker was. He came to the Los Angeles Lakers as a second-round pick and didn’t play at a big school. After getting a chance to see the court with the Lakers, he’s become a household name.
Alex Caruso was everybody’s fan-favorite last year and it looks like Horton-Tucker has taken the mantle this year. The 20-year-old guard went from playing in just six games last season to 50 so far this year. Horton-Tucker grew up in Chicago, Illinois when Derrick Rose was a superstar playing for the Bulls and even attended one of his basketball camps when he was a kid. On Monday, the Lakers played Rose’s New York Knicks, which gave Horton-Tucker the chance to play against his former idol.
A picture of Rose with a young Horton-Tucker started making the rounds on social media and the young guard was able to respond.
It’s been quite a journey for Horton-Tucker. After barely making an NBA team, he’s now a key player for the defending champions playing with and against people who he used to watch as a kid.
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Horton-Tucker Talks Recent Suspension
Horton-Tucker is still very young in his career and just recently got hit with his first suspension. The NBA suspended him because he went onto the court during a fight his teammates were having with the Toronto Raptors. He didn’t actually get involved but the league doesn’t want players coming from the bench onto the court when fights break out. It was a learning experience for the youngster.
“You hold me off the court and I’m gonna be excited to play basketball again,” Horton-Tucker said recently, via Lakers Nation. “So I feel like it was a lesson learned and just something that I feel like I had to go through early in my career, so it was good. … Not playing the last game, we almost won, so mainly just wanted to come out tonight and just be aggressive and do everything that I can.”
Fortunately, it didn’t happen during an important playoff game. Now that Horton-Tucker knows not to get involved when fights break out, he’ll likely be a lot smarter about it.
Will THT Stick With the Lakers?
Thanks to some really strong performances, everybody in the NBA knows who Horton-Tucker is. That’s not great news for the Lakers as the guard will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. The fact that he’s restricted won’t stop teams from targeting him.
He has star potential and could have a much bigger impact on a less star-studded team. It will be very appealing for him to possibly leave Los Angeles for a bigger contract and more playing time. However, that might not be the best career move. Right now, he gets to learn from some of the best basketball minds in the world while competing for championships. If he goes to Minnesota Timberwolves, it could hat the progress he’s making. He could decide to take on a lesser role so that he can further work on his skillset.