Talen Horton-Tucker

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Horton-Tucker, Williams, Wiggins

The Clippers have seen their bench production nosedive during the 2020/21 season thus far, according to Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Los Angeles is averaging a league-low -5.3 plus-minus through its first 10 games, according to Swanson. This is a marked drop-off from years past, as former Clipper Montrezl Harrell was the Sixth Man of the Year for the 2019/20 season and longtime Clipper Lou Williams won that honor in ’18/19.

“We are going to figure that out,” Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said of the Clippers’ bench’s struggles. “It is a good problem to have, especially when you can get Marcus (Morris) back, who has been a starter and now is coming off the bench. You have that kind of talent coming off the bench, it adds a different dynamic to your team.”

There’s more out of California:

  • Lakers reserve shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker, a restricted free agent in 2021, is expected to draw interest from several squads during the offseason, including possibly the Knicks, Cavaliers, and Mavericks, according to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. Los Angeles possesses Horton-Tucker’s Early Bird rights. While the Lakers could technically match any offer for Horton-Tucker, an opposing team’s GM speculates that a rival club could outbid make it hard on L.A. “Teams that have a lot of cap space and are looking to gamble on a young guy, why not put your money into him?” the GM wonders. “The upside is obvious.”
  • A rotation tweak by the Clippers has freed up backup guard Lou Williams, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times reports. L.A. coach Tyronn Lue and his staff have opted to surround Williams with four solid defenders on the floor.
  • The 2020 trade deadline deal wherein the Warriors sent D’Angelo Russell to the Timberwolves in a package for swingman Andrew Wiggins and a top-three protected 2021 first-round draft pick continues to pay off for Golden State, according to Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area. After a rocky start, Wiggins has transformed into a solid two-way option on the wing to help fill the void left by injured Warriors star Klay Thompson. Through 10 games this season, Wiggins is currently averaging 17.5 PPG on 43.3% shooting from the floor and 38.5% shooting from deep, on 5.2 attempts. The 6-4 Warriors are the No. 4 seed in the West.

Lakers Notes: Horton-Tucker, Caldwell-Pope, Davis, 2020

Preseason sensation Talen Horton-Tucker hasn’t seen significant playing time since the regular season began, but that might change soon, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. The Lakers are low on wing players with Alex Caruso in the NBA’s health and safety protocol and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope dealing with a sprained left ankle he suffered Friday night.

“He’s a guy who’s young but seems like he’s been in the league for a while,” Anthony Davis said of the second-year shooting guard. “He likes to learn. He’s not afraid of the moment, and we have a guy who’s 19, 20? – something like that – where you can throw him in the fire and he’ll be ready to go, so we for sure got a steal in the draft with him.”

Horton-Tucker spent most of last season in the G League and didn’t make a strong impression on the coaching staff until the restart in Orlando. He was awed by the chance to match skills with veteran J.R. Smith in practice, but now he’s gotten used to facing NBA stars.

“It’s great just being around those guys to see where you are every day,” he said. “For me, it gives me a measuring stick. I wouldn’t say I’m still star struck.”

There’s more Lakers news to pass along:

  • Caldwell-Pope didn’t need a walking boot as he left the arena Friday and isn’t concerned that the ankle will be a long-term problem, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic“Ankle is fine,” he said. “X-rays was negative, just a little sprain. And hopefully I can go in a couple days. We’re gonna treat it for the next couple days until we get to Memphis and see how we go from there.”
  • Davis is one of the best shooting big men in the league, and coach Frank Vogel wants him to put up more shots from long distance, Buha adds in the same piece. Davis shot a career-high 3.5 three-pointers per game last season and the plan is for him to increase that number. “Coach wants me to shoot at least five, average five, a game this year,” Davis said. “… Sometimes I pass up for a better shot. But I just got to shoot it. Any time I can shoot a high volume, I usually shoot pretty well from the field.”
  • Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times talks to Lakers players about the highs and lows of 2020, which included a 17th NBA title, the shocking death of Kobe Bryant and the havoc created by COVID-19.

L.A. Notes: Horton-Tucker, LeBron, AD, COVID-19, Mann

With his second consecutive impressive preseason performance on Sunday, second-year Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker is making a strong case to be part of the team’s regular season rotation, as ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes.

“It’s going to make my job difficult for sure,” head coach Frank Vogel said when asked about finding a role for Horton-Tucker, who poured in 33 points in Sunday’s win to go along with 10 rebounds, four assists, and four steals.

“We have a very deep team. No minutes are guaranteed,” Vogel added. “He’s going to keep playing at a high level, and that should push everybody else to stay playing at a high level. It does give us that luxury of having him carry the load some for some of our guys who played deep in the championship run last year and had a short offseason.”

Even if the Lakers stay relatively healthy this season, the club should prioritize finding regular minutes for Horton-Tucker, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who says the franchise will need to develop young talent if it wants to remain a title contender for years to come

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles-based teams:

  • Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis didn’t play at all during the team’s first two preseason contests, but they’ll both be “ready to go” when the regular season gets underway next week, according to Vogel (link via Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times).
  • Both the Lakers and Clippers were missing players on Sunday due to “excused absences” believed to be related to the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Those absences may be related to inconclusive tests or contact tracing, so they don’t necessarily mean the individual tested positive for COVID-19, according to Greif, who notes that the Lakers were without Kostas Antetokounmpo and Devontae Cacok, while the Clippers were missing Reggie Jackson and assistant coach Chauncey Billups.
  • Although Terance Mann has seen some time at shooting guard and small forward, the Clippers view the 24-year-old as a point guard and expect him to be a key contributor off the bench, as Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register writes.

Pacific Notes: Horton-Tucker, Harrell, Smailagic, Kings

Both L.A. teams are filled with stars, but the talk of the first preseason matchup between the Lakers and Clippers was second-year guard Talen Horton-Tucker, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Horton-Tucker only got into six games for the Lakers last season, spending most of the year in the G League, but he erupted for 19 points and nine rebounds on Friday night.

The performance drew online raves from his teammates, with LeBron James tweeting, “Telling you right now! This kid is flat out SPECIAL! Mark my words.” An injury slowed Horton-Tucker during last year’s training camp, but he got to display his skills during the restart and is now aiming for a rotation role.

“He’s young, but he’s got all the tools,” said new Laker Wesley Matthews. “He’s a dog. He’s tough on the offensive end, the defensive end. He’s crafty. He’s got some stuff to him, and he’s only gonna get better. I mean obviously he’s learning from one of the best (James) to ever touch a basketball.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Montrezl Harrell said he felt “definitely weird emotions” playing against the Clippers after leaving the organization to sign with its cross-town rival, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Harrell talked briefly with Reggie Jackson and Patrick Beverley during warm-ups before Friday’s game. “As far as seeing my old teammates and communicating with those guys, I did that after the game, for the most,” Harrell said.Lou (Williams) and Pat, I kind of spoke to before the game just ‘cause I’ve been around those guys my whole career. But this is my job. This is where I’m at. … This wasn’t a come out, ‘Hey, how are you guys doing?’ and laughing it up. Nah, I had a job to do and I had a mindset of what I came here to do.”
  • The Warriors are hoping Alen Smailagic can develop into the same type of player as Davis Bertans, writes Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. Golden State recognized that Smailagic would be a project when he was drafted in the second round last year, so he’s virtually guaranteed a roster spot this season, Letourneau adds. “I think there’s a lot there to work with, and he has a really good chance to be a really good player in the NBA,” Warriors two-way coach Seth Cooper said. “I’m glad that the organization is willing to see that through and hopefully reap the benefits from this investment down the line.”
  • Kings coach Luke Walton hopes Marvin Bagley III and Hassan Whiteside will be ready for preseason action next week, tweets Jason Jones of The Athletic. Bagley missed workouts because of COVID-19, while Whiteside is dealing with a mild calf strain.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/18/20

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Clippers have assigned Mfiondu Kabengele and Terance Mann to the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, the team announced. Kabengele was the team’s first-round draft pick back in June.
  • The Rockets have assigned Chris Clemons and Isaiah Hartenstein to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Fox 26’s Mark Berman tweets. Hartenstein, who is one of two seven-footers on the team, has started two games for the NBA club this season.
  • The Lakers have assigned Talen Horton-Tucker to the G League, according to the league’s transaction log. Horton-Tucker was the team’s only draft pick back in June.
  • The Nets have assigned Dzanan Musa to the Long Island Nets. Musa has appeared in 35 NBA games this season.
  • KZ Okpala has been sent to the G League by the Heat, per the league’s transaction log. Okpala was selected in the second round of the 2019 draft.
  • The Suns have sent Jalen Lecque to the Northern Arizona Suns. The rookie has appeared in just four games for the NBA club this season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/6/20

Here are Monday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Hornets recalled forwards Caleb Martin and Jalen McDaniels from the Greensboro Swarm, according to a team press release. Martin, an undrafted rookie, has appeared in five games for the Hornets, averaging 1.8 PPG in 6.4 MPG. Martin has appeared in 17 games for the Swarm, averaging 19.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 3.8 APG in 35.1 MPG. McDaniels, a second-round pick who has made two cameos with the Hornets, has appeared in 20 games with the Swarm, averaging 17.3 PPG and 7.7 RPG.
  • Point guard Chris Clemons has been recalled by the Rockets, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Clemons had a 40-point game for the Rio Grande Vipers on Sunday. The previous Sunday he racked up 16 points and nine assists for the Rockets against New Orleans.
  • The Mavericks assigned small forward Isaiah Roby to the Texas Legends, the team’s PR department tweets. The second-round pick has been rehabbing a foot injury.
  • The Suns recalled Jalen Lecque from their Northern Arizona affiliate, the team tweets. The undrafted rookie guard has yet to make his NBA debut.
  • The Pacers recalled star guard Victor Oladipo from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team tweets. Oladipo practiced with the Mad Ants as he continues his rehab from a right knee ailment.
  • The Raptors assigned Matt Thomas to Raptors 905, Blake Murphy of The Athletic tweets. He’ll play in a G League contest on Monday, then return to the NBA club and suit up against Portland on Tuesday, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. The shooting guard has been sidelined by a finger injury and hasn’t played for the Raptors since November 23.
  • Raptors forwards Stanley Johnson and Malcolm Miller have also been assigned to Raptors 905, Murphy adds in another tweet. Johnson, who asked to be sent to the G League, will also play on Monday as he works his way back from a groin injury, according to Lewenberg (Twitter link). Miller has appeared in 20 games with the NBA club this season but is only averaging 5.5 MPG.
  • The Lakers recalled Talen Horton-Tucker from South Bay, the G League affiliate tweets. The second-round rookie has appeared in two NBA games this season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/14/19

Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

Pacific Notes: Bradley, Horton-Tucker, Evans, Kokoskov

Lakers guard Avery Bradley has been cleared for full contact, the team’s PR department tweets. Bradley started 10 games for the streaking Lakers, averaging 9.8 PPG, before suffering a lower right leg injury. He had a hairline fracture in a non-weight bearing bone. Bradley’s two-year, $9.8MM contract includes a $5MM player option.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers second-round pick Talen Horton-Tucker is trying to make the most of his G League appearances, he told David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders. Horton-Tucker is averaging 11.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG and 3.2 APG in 11 games with the South Bay Lakers. “I understand that I’m probably not going to get minutes with the Lakers right now,” Horton-Tucker said. “I feel like the G League has been great. It helps us get our reps in and it helps our careers get started.”
  • Warriors guard Jacob Evans is available to play on Monday after missing 21 games with an adductor strain, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Evans appeared in three games this season prior to the injury, averaging 6.0 PPG in 14.3 MPG. The former Cincinnati standout had his 2020/21 option picked up by Golden State in late October.
  • Former Suns coach and current Kings assistant Igor Kokoskov has no regrets about his draft input with Phoenix, Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays. “I will tell you that I sleep peacefully and peaceably,” Kokoskov said to Index regarding his recommendation for the Suns’ No. 1 overall pick in 2018. Kokoskov is believed to have wanted Luka Doncic, whom Kokoskov coached on the Slovenian National Team, but Suns owner Robert Sarver pushed for Deandre Ayton, Feldman adds.

NBA G League Assignment/Recalls: 10/30/19

Every night during the NBA G League season, Hoops Rumors provides the assignments and recalls for each team. With training camps now open, here are Wednesday’s assignments and recalls from around the G League:

NBA G League Assignment/Recalls: 10/29/19

Every night during the NBA G League season, Hoops Rumors provides the assignments and recalls by each team. With training camps now open, here are Tuesday’s assignments and recalls from around the G League:

  • The Wizards have assigned Admiral Schofield and Justin Robinson to the Capital City Go-Go, according to a team press release. Schofield has appeared in all three games for the Wizards this season, while Robinson saw time in one.
  • The Lakers have assigned Talen Horton-Tucker to the South Bay Lakers, per the team’s Twitter feed. Horton-Tucker was No. 46 overall pick in the 2019 draft.