At one point, Talent Horton-Tucker was thought to be a staple of the franchise and a star on the rise. But after playing out a few seasons with the Purple and Gold, it became clear that THT was just not what Lakers fans were hoping he'd be.
Now, in the aftermath of his trade to the Jazz, Tucker's time in Los Angeles is being put under the microscope, with various reports coming out about his relationship with the organization.
“When I talked to some people connected to Horton-Tucker, he was kind of on an island in the sense of he’s like the only young guy," said NBA insider Chris Vernon. "He didn’t have buddies to go run around with. This is an old team with a bunch of veteran guys. He didn’t have a bunch of friends.”
In a separate piece, The Athletic's Sam Vecenie detailed THT's future and described his potential as hit or miss.
In that vein, Horton-Tucker remains something of a boom-or-bust prospect. He might turn into someone who can carry an offense for stretches. He also might never learn to shoot or finish efficiently enough. There’s a non-zero chance still that Horton-Tucker turns into a killer player in a mid-to-lower-tier international league like China’s that’s far below the NBA’s standard.
But his ceiling remains high enough to make him a worthwhile bet for a rebuilding team. At the end of the day, it’s hard to find big guards/wings who are this strong, can create off the bounce, make plays for their teammates and put pressure on the defense when they have the ball in their hands. If the Jazz are indeed hitting the reset button, they should be making upside swings like this. (The only potential issue is that Horton-Tucker blows up enough to persuade him to exercise his player option and hit free agency next summer, but that’s a good problem for later.)
In truth, the jury is still out on Talen-Horton Tucker and what kind of player he can become. With a lot of raw talent and untapped potential, he could be a real force for the Jazz.
But until we see that come to fruition, there will always be a sense that Tucker never fulfilled expectations as a budding young star.