College stats: 11.8 PPG 2.3 APG 4.9 RPG 0.7 BPG 1.3 SPG 1.7 TOPG on 40.6/30.8/62.5
Name: Talen Horton-Tucker
College/ country: Iowa State
Tools: Defense, frame
- Strong build/frame- 7’0+ wingspan
- Excellent touch around the rim
- High motor
- High defensive upside
- Good passing vision + accuracy; secondary playmaker
- Good in the pick & roll
- Strong feel for the game
- Good ball handler, but needs refinement for consistency
- Subpar athlete
- Questionable jump shot & questionable shot selection; needs to clean up follow through
- Gets tunnel vision on the drive
- Lacks top end speed
Talen Horton-Tucker is a high floor, medium ceiling defensive minded wing. He has an elite frame with advanced strength for a freshman. While he isn’t more than an average athlete at best, he is going to be a great defender in the NBA due to his length, instincts, and motor. Offensively, he can serve as a point forward or secondary ball handler at ease. He still needs to improve his ball handling consistency, as he often dribbles the ball off his foot while attempting advanced moves. He has tremendous passing accuracy and is capable of making passes on the move. If he can improve his ball handling and passing vision, he can become a full time secondary playmaker off the bench. He’s a creative finisher at the rim and his strength allows him to finish through contact. This combination of passing and creating ability, combined with slashing, makes him an intriguing prospect.
Horton-Tucker’s feel for the game will keep him in the league for a long time. His biggest flaws are his inconsistent jump shot and lacking athleticism in terms of quickness and vertical, but he knows how to hide those flaws and how to get the looks he wants while overcoming those weaknesses.
NBA Comparison: Floor: Sindarius Thornwell; ceiling: Chandler Parsons
Projected draft range: 13-25
Horton-Tucker Hears a Who?
Ultimately, barring a trade into the middle of the first round, the Mavericks have a low chance of acquiring Talen Horton-Tucker. If the Mavs were able to pull off a move to acquire him, he’d be a great fit at wing that reminds me of Chandler Parsons’ role with Dallas as a point forward with a mild jump shot and a good defender. Instead, his best realistic fits include the Lakers, Pistons, and Pacers:
LA could benefit from a bench playmaker, which he provides while also being able to guard almost anyone on the court. Beyond the obvious match of having the same agent as Lebron James, he would be a fit as a young 2 way player, but would need to immediately focus on improving his jump shot. He shot 31% from 3 as a freshman and 62.5% from the free throw line- which makes his jump shot a question mark. The Lakers would need to be blown away by his jumper in workouts in order to take him in the late lottery.
The Pistons are in dire need of a wing. While he doesn’t provide the shooting help, he supplies the facilitating and defensive needs on the wing. Besides Luke Kennard, the Pistons have one of the worst playmaking set of wings in the NBA. The Pistons also lack defensive prowess on the wing beyond Bruce Brown.
The Pacers could benefit from Talen Horton-Tucker as a long term piece, as well as an immediate fit. 4 of Indiana’s top 4 assist per game leaders are free agents this summer, and two of those are wings, which could be an opening for Talen Horton-Tucker. There would likely be low pressure on Horton-Tucker, who doesn’t turn 19 until around Thanksgiving, to produce immediately. He would also add to the strong defensive core that Indiana has established, which could give them a long term defensive identity.