Talen Horton-Tucker Will Compete for A Starting Role On the Lakers

Tucker signed a contract extension this offseason, and his potential appears to be on the horizon.
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The 2021-22 Lakers have some big names, but it's the smaller names who offer the most intrigue when it comes to their usage. Per Yahoo sports, it appears Talen Horton-Tucker may be competing for a starting role.

Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis are mortal locks for the starting five. As previously reported here at SI, James and Davis are reportedly going to spend a lot of time at the four and five spots, and Westbrook will obviously be manning the point guard position. That leaves spots two and three open for the starting roles.

At 6'4, Tucker is the height of a small shooting guard, but his near seven foot wingspan could make him an option at the three position. The Lakers appear to be going 'small' by putting James and Davis at the four and five spots, anyway. There are definitely some things that need to be worked out for this to work for Tucker, however. 

Tucker needs to prove he can play some defense. Not that he hasn't shown the potential before, but his career is young and he is still developing. With his frame and wingspan, a defensive specialist is something Tucker is literally built for. There is probably another issue, as well.

Tucker most likely needs to improve on his outside shooting. James is a solid outside shooter, but otherwise the Lakers starting five needs a shooter to truly spread the floor and keep the lanes clear for Westbrook and Davis. The kind of role Tucker should emulate is that of Kent Bazemore. Bazemore is the template of a "two way player." Bazemore too has a big wingspan, and plays good defense against wings. Bazemore also shoots a robust %40 from outside. If Tucker isn't going to grow into a shooter, it is clear is his defense that will nab him a starting role.

Tucker's ceiling is higher than Bazemore's. He has tremendous athletic ability and an eye for driving into the lane. He's also a bowling ball when he drives into the lane at his height. This has been his scouting report since his pre-draft days. His body is built to be a defensive juggernaut, and that's what the Lakers are hoping to see out of Tucker.