Talen Horton-Tucker has been extremely promising for the Los Angeles Lakers in two preseason games.
Talen Horton-Tucker, at the ripe age of 20 years old (he just turned 20 as well!) is balling out for the Los Angeles Lakers. He dropped 33 points against the Los Angeles Clippers in the Lakers’ second preseason game leading up to the 2020-21 season.
Now, it is just a preseason game and we need to see more than two solid preseason showings out of THT before we can write him off as a true contributor. However, THT has all the signs of being a legitimate role player and has LeBron James’ support as well.
THT continuing to play at a high level has a sliding doors effect on the Los Angeles Lakers. Most notably, if THT proves to the Lakers that he is ready to contribute to the playoff rotation through the first half of the season, a Kyle Kuzma trade becomes all the more likely.
We discussed that possibility on the latest episode of the Lake Show Life Podcast.
Why a Kyle Kuzma trade would be more likely:
Kyle Kuzma is slotted in to be the team’s primary wing off of the bench. Based on the way the roster is constructed, Kuzma will play the three with Markieff Morris at the four and Montrezl Harrell at the five.
Kuzma is not a great shooter nor defender, making his fit as a three quite odd. However, THT fits into that role tremendously, and can easily play his way into Kuzma’s minutes and be a much better fit for the team.
He is an actual three that plays better defense and can even initiate offense as the ball-handler, which could be perfect if Dennis Schroder is not the initiator that we thought he could be.
The two play different positions but in terms of who else in on the roster and the role that Kuzma is being asked to play it is quite clear that THT can easily replace Kuzma. That makes it much easier for the team to part ways with Kuzma at the deadline.
Kuzma is a restricted free agent after this season and if he does reach that point with the Lakers I would not be shocked if he simply signs elsewhere. Think Julius Randle when he signed with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Lakers might as well get something for Kuzma if that is the case, especially considering THT is much younger and is more versatile. I do not think it is even absurd to say that by the end of the year THT might be a better all-around player than Kuzma will be.
Regardless, we have all been focusing on Kyle Kuzma as that youth foundation for the Lakers, when in reality, it may have been the player that the Lakers traded into the second round last year to draft. They wanted him for a reason.