The Los Angeles Lakers made the biggest move they could make by trading for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans that is expected to be completed on July 6.
However, the Davis trade cost the Lakers their No. 4 pick, leaving them without any picks in the 2019 NBA Draft.
With the 2019-20 NBA season roster basically empty, the Lakers reportedly were looking to purchase second round draft picks. By doing this, the Lakers would get a young prospect and not hurt their salary cap by doing so.
The Lakers were able to do just that, purchasing the No. 46 pick from the Orlando Magic, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Sources: The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired the No. 46 overall pick in the NBA draft from Orlando. Magic receive future pick and money.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 21, 2019
With the No. 46 pick, the Lakers then selected Talen Horton-Tucker, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Lakers are focused on Iowa State guard Talen Horton-Tucker, per source.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 21, 2019
This is a very interesting pick for the Lakers as Horton-Tucker is one of the most unique draft prospects in years. He measured at only 6’4″ but is 235 pounds and has a 7’1 1/4″ wingspan, which should allow him to slide up positions especially defensively. Theoretically, his length and wide frame could potentially allow him to guard power forwards, helping to replace what the team lost in Josh Hart.
Offensively, Horton-Tucker is a good playmaker and shot creator who needs to improve his shooting ability overall. His ball-handling allows him to create space to finish at the rim and he has excellent vision and passing ability which should allow him to operate as a secondary playmaker in the halfcourt.
He is also a solid rebounder despite his lack of height and has the ability to ignite the break immediately following the board. There are some concerns regarding his game and how he fits at the NBA level, however.
He shot just 30.8% from three-point range and 62.5% from the free throw line which will only heighten concerns about his ability to become a reliable shooter at the next level. His decision-making also needs some work as he had the tendency to force some bad shots at Iowa State. Defensively, he might struggle to stay in front of quicker perimeter players and didn’t always give the best effort.
Despite the concerns, Horton-Tucker is still a versatile player with excellent court vision who could potentially guard multiple positions and create shots for others. Additionally, he won’t turn 19 years old until November, so there is plenty of room for him to grow. The Lakers shot for the stars with this pick but if there is any place within the organization that has earned the benefit of the doubt, it is the scouting department.