• Talen Horton-Tucker drew praise from LeBron James
  • Frank Vogel is employing tough love on the sophomore player
  • Horton-Tucker needs to follow-up impressive showing with more good games for the Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have been looking for a point guard for some time now, but it appears they had one hidden somewhere on the bench. Talen Horton-Tucker is someone most never paid attention to until he showed up and impressed in the NBA preseason.

The 20-year-old cager out of Chicago, Illinois, has drawn attention after standing out in the Lakers’ 87-81 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. He finished with 19 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists in 37 minutes of action, the Los Angeles Times reported.

It would be best to note that there were no big names who saw action for the defending NBA champions. LeBron James and Anthony Davis did not play, both being preserved for the opening of the season set for Dec. 22.

However, James was one of the many viewers of the game. He was unsurprisingly happy with Horton-Tucker’s performance and said that the Lakers sophomore is special.

“Telling you right now! This kid is flat out SPECIAL! Mark my words,” James tweeted.

Pundits would say that the preseason may mean nothing as far as what players would get once the regular players come to play. But for Horton-Tucker’s case, there is no denying that he could be a good player if given the right exposure.

Horton-Tucker admitted that he has been getting tough love from Lakers coach Frank Vogel. Rather than take it personally, the 46th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft welcomed that since he knows it would be for his own good as a player.

“With coach being a little harder on me, I feel like it’s good for my development,” Horton-Tucker said. “Being able to learn as much as I can right now is the most important thing for me, so I just feel like anything that the coaches say to me or the players say to me is good, so I appreciate it.”

So far, Vogel likes what he sees. And from the way he sounded, it appears he wants to see more from Horton-Tucker moving forward. The 20-year-old played just six games for the Lakers last NBA season.

“Talen, we want to put the ball in his hands in pick and rolls a lot, but he can attack in the open court, he can come off pin-downs and he’s a great second-side attacker in catch-and-shoot situations and attacking closeouts. He didn’t even finish well tonight at the rim, he’s still getting his legs under him a little bit, but he still had 19 and 9 and it was a big performance and a great start,” Vogel said.

Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Talen Horton-Tucker #5
Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Talen Horton-Tucker #5 Getty Images | Kevin C. Cox