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NBA Rumors: Pacers Eyed Lakers' Talen Horton-Tucker Before Patrick Beverley Trade

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 31, 2022

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers reached out to the Los Angeles Lakers about acquiring Talen Horton-Tucker before the Lakers traded him to the Utah Jazz for Patrick Beverley, according to HoopsHype's Michael Scotto.

Scotto reported Indiana wanted to include THT with Russell Westbrook and Los Angeles' 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in a swap that would've sent Myles Turner, Buddy Hield and Daniel Theis westward.

Horton-Tucker was a poor fit for his role with the Lakers.

The 21-year-old is a career 27.6 percent three-point shooter, so he didn't offer much as an off-ball scorer. He was unable to use his skills as a slasher with the ball in his hands, too, because he so often shared the court with Westbrook, LeBron James and/or Anthony Davis.

The Athletic's Sam Vecenie highlighted one of Horton-Tucker's biggest strengths:

"Here’s the thing: Horton-Tucker is a tremendous driver who can create with the basketball in his hands. He was at his best this past season in the rare instances when he got free rein to lead the Lakers offense, especially late in the season. He’s physical and uses his long strides to get into the paint and break down defenses once he gets an angle to attack, both out of spot-up situations when defenses are already tilted and on ball screens. He plays with a tremendous change of pace and with real shake, and he can throw live-dribble passes."

Because of his age, there's still time for THT to make a breakthrough in the NBA, and he's exactly the kind of player the Pacers should pursue.

Indiana is building for the future after having traded away Caris LeVert and Domantas Sabonis. Turner is still there, but Scotto's report underlines how the 6'11" center may not remain with the team for much longer.

Horton-Tucker would've been a good defensive complement to Tyrese Haliburton in the backcourt and might have slotted in as the starting 3 if Hield departed.

Instead, Horton-Tucker will have the opportunity to thrive with another franchise that's taking a long-term view.

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