Talen Horton-Tucker could be part of the future of jazz

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

On Thursday, the Utah Jazz finalized a trade that sent a veteran guard Patrick Beverly to the Los Angeles Lakers for Talen Horton Tucker and Stanley Johnson.

This can turn out to be one of those trades that helps both teams involved.

While the Lakers badly needed a proven 3&D role player like Beverley, Utah gets two young players they can develop in the future.

After trading All-Star center Rudy Gobert earlier this summer, the Jazz appeared to be entering a rebuilding phase, especially as fellow All-Star Donovan Mitchelltheir best player, has been the subject of many trade rumours.

Even if Mitchell sticks around, Horton-Tucker is a guard with an edge that could help the Jazz stay competitive.

Horton-Tucker has the potential to become a good player

When a team like the Jazz starts a rebuilding project, it needs to accumulate as many assets as possible.

Executive Danny Ainge certainly does that, as he acquired several future first-round picks for Gobert, as well as Malik Beasleya young and viable complementary player.

Horton-Tucker also falls into this same category, although not so long ago no one expected him to.

He played one season at Iowa State University, and he didn’t exactly set the nation on fire, as he averaged just 11.8 points per game on 40.6 percent shooting.

The Orlando Magic used the 46th pick in the 2019 NBA draft on Horton-Tucker, only to send his rights to the Lakers.

As a rookie, he had very little playing time until the Walt Disney World Resort bubble, where head coach Frank Vogel put him on the court in a few team ladder games. .

In four of those competitions, Horton-Tucker averaged 8.5 points in 19.0 minutes per game while shooting 48.3% from the field, and he began to show he had a special talent – the ability to reach the edge of the dribble and finish at the rim.

The following season he appeared in 65 games, averaging 9.0 points in 20.1 minutes per game, leading many to believe he had the potential to become a very good player.

But last season he showed no improvement.

Horton-Tucker as of now is a poor perimeter shooter, struggles to go to his left and also suffers from some tunnel vision when looking to break in and score.

But he showed flashes of ability to set up teammates at a decent level.

What might the Horton-Tucker ceiling look like?

The biggest key for Horton-Tucker seems to be developing perimeter shooting that is, at a minimum, no worse than the league average.

That would mean shooting at least around 35% from 3-point range and hitting the mid-40s in overall shooting percentage.

If he can do that, he could easily average at least 15 points per game, as long as he gets at least 25-28 minutes of playing time per game.

He could team up with Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson to give the Jazz a powerful three-guard setup that can cause problems for opposing defenses.

On the Lakers, Horton-Tucker languishes to some degree because james lebron and Russell Westbrook are both heavily used players who control the ball a ton, which has forced him to play off the ball, not exactly one of his strengths.

New Utah head coach Will Hardy will have to design an offense that allows Horton-Tucker, Mitchell and Clarkson to thrive together, even if all three aren’t great off-the-ball players.

But away from the towering shadows of James and Westbrook, Horton-Tucker may have the opportunity to blossom and become his best self.

Ada J. Kenney