Talen Horton-Tucker and five other breakout stars of the NBA preseason
Even in a normal year, NBA preseason games can be misleading. However, certain achievements can show the progress of some developing players.
Small sample sizes can blur results, and overreacting doesn't always make sense. This is compounded by the weirdness of this off-season. Likewise, anyone can get hot for a night, especially when playing in exhibition games. However, there are key moments that may indicate future success.
Before the 2020-21 campaign kicks off, we looked at a few players in the league who were facing a potential breakout season due to events in the preseason.
Talen Horton-Tucker (LA Lakers)
December 18, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; The Los Angeles Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker (5) during a preseason game against the Phoenix Suns at the Phoenix Suns Arena.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Statistics: 20.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.2 spg, 54.7 FG%, 53.8 3P% The Los Angeles Lakers may have found something very special in Talen Horton-Tucker, the in the preseason this year was the beauty of the ball. At the start of his second professional season, Horton-Tucker turned 20 last month. But he managed a 33-point, 10-rebound performance against the Clippers on December 13, shooting 4-on-5 from a distance. When preseason was all said and done, his massive 7-foot-1 wingspan helped him lead all contestants in Total Steals (9) while leaving only Devin Booker behind in the standings. Given his performance, albeit a relatively small sample, Horton-Tucker may have just found his way to cement a role in the rotation for the returning champions.
Josh Richardson (Dallas)
December 17, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; Josh Richardson (0), guardian of the Dallas Mavericks, gets the ball into play in the first quarter at the American Airlines Center against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Stats: 15.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.0 apg, 73.3 3P%, 62.5 FG% As part of a deal during the 2020 NBA draft, the Philadelphia 76ers handed Josh Richardson to the Dallas Mavericks with it they could add a shooting specialist for Seth Curry. While hailed primarily as a defender, Richardson made a splash during his first three preseason games with the Mavericks as a contributor on the offensive side of the floor. Overall, the most encouraging aspect of his game is that he was 11 to 15 (73.3%) from beyond the arc. According to Synergy, Richardson was also 10: 11 (90.9 percent) in his catch-and-shoot jumpers. With the kind of attention his new teammate Luka Doncic gets from his defenders (and the playing ability Doncic offers), Richardson's new team will allow him to get many wide-open jumpers off the hook. He could be waiting for the best season of his career playing alongside Doncic.
Cedi Osman (Cleveland)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 12: Cedi Osman # 16 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots over Domantas Sabonis # 11 of the Indiana Pacers during the first half of a preseason game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on December 12, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: The user expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and / or using this photo, the user is agreeing to the terms of the Getty Images license agreement. ((
(Photo by Jason Miller / Getty Images)
Statistics: 21.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.0 spg, 68.4 FG%, 66.7 3P% Last season the Cleveland Cavaliers had an offensive rating (106.9) which ranked fifth worst among all NBA teams. But they could take a step forward if Cedi Osman continues the hot start he got earlier this month. In the last three preparation campaigns of his career, Osman had never scored more than 8.0 points per game. That year he was able to achieve an average of 21 points for Cleveland in two games. The wing was a solid 3-on-6 (50.0%) when shot from 3-point range against the Indiana Pacers and then 5-on-6 (83.3%) from a distance against the New York Knicks has been. That kind of productivity speaks well for Osman's expectations for the coming season, who is seen as a potential breakout player.
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