Lakers get Horton-Tucker in 2nd round after trading top pick
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A few hours after the Los Angeles Lakers made a draft pick for another team, they made a solid addition to their own roster.
Although the Lakers gave up the fourth overall pick in the yet-to-be-announced trade for Anthony Davis earlier this month, they acquired the 46th overall pick from Orlando on Thursday night and used it on Iowa State’s Talen Horton-Tucker.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Horton-Tucker, who didn’t work out for the Lakers or meet with them at the combine. “Everybody grows up and wants to play for a team like that.”
Horton-Tucker is a Chicago native who played only one season with the Cyclones before entering the draft. He will still be 18 years old when the Lakers report to training camp.
He is also a client of Klutch Sports, the agency that represents Davis and LeBron James. Horton-Tucker trained for the draft in Los Angeles, and he called it his “dream destination.”
“It’s actually great to come in with two guys like that and learn from them,” Horton-Tucker said of Davis and James.
The Lakers began draft night without a pick for their own roster. They moved up to fourth overall in the draft lottery after winning 37 games in the regular season, but that pick became a key component in the Lakers’ deal with New Orleans for Davis, the star big man who will become a franchise cornerstone when the trade is announced next month.
That left Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter in the awkward position of putting on a Lakers hat after Los Angeles chose him on behalf of the Atlanta Hawks, who swung a deal to get that No. 4 pick from the Pelicans.
The Lakers need affordable players with their roster in complete flux, and second-round picks fit the bill. The franchise also has a recent history of finding undervalued gems with lower-round picks, acquiring the likes of Josh Hart, Jordan Clarkson and Kyle Kuzma outside of their high first-round picks.
Although Horton-Tucker could need G League development, the 6-foot-4 prospect’s extraordinary raw ability made him compelling to the Lakers. He is already a skilled ball-handler with oversized hands and a 7-foot-1 wingspan.
The Lakers didn’t hold a traditional draft-night availability at their training complex, likely to prevent general manager Rob Pelinka from being forced to talk around the trade that he can’t officially announce until next month.