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Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker talks about playing on and off ball

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After securing a new three-year contract extension last summer, people expected a lot from Los Angeles Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker this season.

It didn’t quite happen. His stats either remained flat or regressed compared to last year.

One thing that made it tough on Horton-Tucker was the fact he usually had to play off the ball due to the presence of both LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.

But he seems to have a constructive view of what he went through this year.

Via Lakers Daily:

“I feel like every situation that I’ve been in is almost like a learning experience,” Horton-Tucker said. “Being on the ball, off the ball, it’s experience that you need. Obviously I felt better with the ball in my hands, and I felt I had success with that, but just learning to play with stars was the most important thing they wanted me to do.

“During those stretches I got to play a lot more. Bron (LeBron James) was out to start, and then to finish the season we had some other guys out. Just the opportunity to have the ball in my hands and play and be at my best. … It felt good to actually do that.”

With the Lakers apparently looking to trade Westbrook this offseason, Horton-Tucker may get more opportunities to make things happen with the ball in his hands next season.

He seemed to play somewhat better after the trade deadline passed, and with James missing several games toward the end of the schedule, he had a little more room to breathe.

In the 80th game of the season, which took place against the Golden State Warriors, the third-year guard produced 40 points on 15-of-28 shooting.

Of course, there is always the chance Horton-Tucker gets traded this summer, but if he doesn’t, he can play a key role in 2023 with his youth, energy and ability to get to the rim and finish.

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