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It’s really hard to believe sometimes that Talen Horton-Tucker is just 21 years old.

“I’m still the same age as some rookies,” he said. “But I’m appreciative of my situation. I got the opportunity early to start working on my game.”

A lot of people call the fourth-year player “the youngest vet ever” and poke fun at the fact he looks and acts like he’s one of the elder statesmen in the NBA. And Horton-Tucker has some bragging rights that go with his experience thus far.

On a team that is mixed with veterans, young players and those in between, Horton-Tucker is the only player with an NBA ring. He’s the only one with championship experience at this level after winning a title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020, and though he could brag, he doesn’t — he’s not the type to brag. He just tries to implement what he saw from a title-winning team to his game.

“I’ve seen good basketball and what it takes to win,” he said. “I feel like anybody that’s been in that type of environment can go somewhere else and add value at some point.”

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Horton-Tucker, who at the time became the second youngest player to win a title at 19 years and 321 days (Jonathan Kuminga took over the second-youngest spot when he won with the Golden State Warriors in 2022), shared the court with one of the greatest players the game has seen and saw what it took for LeBron James and everyone else on that 2020 team to rise above everyone else and hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

“Mentally locking in, different coaches making adjustments and just preparing,” he said. “It’s when the stars basically become stars — the big moments and big games. They kind of show up. ... You see a good team play to win.”

Horton-Tucker does not think he has all the answers and knows that he still has a long way to go. Remember, he’s just 21. He’s still learning and still has potential to grow and is hoping that being in Utah will give him a chance to do exactly that.

“I get an opportunity to start fresh,” he said. “Almost reinvent myself.”

He doesn’t want to forget what he learned along the way though. Those are valuable lessons.

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This week in Jazz history

On Nov. 7, 2008, Jerry Sloan became the first coach in NBA history to record 1,000 wins with the same club, as the Utah Jazz won 104-97 over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

This week on ‘Unsalvageable’

Check out “Unsalvageable,” hosted by Deseret News Utah Jazz beat reporter Sarah Todd and lifelong Jazz fan Greg Foster (no, not that Greg Foster).

This week the crew is back to talk about the Jazz and whether what they are doing is sustainable. Is it too late to tank for Victor Wembanyama? What moves could they make to go for it? Would that ruin the team vibe? All that and more.

The podcast has moved to a new feed, so remember to follow or subscribe by searching for “Unsalvageable” through your podcast provider.

New episodes come out every week. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and anywhere else you stream podcasts.

From the archives

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Extra points

Around the league

Brooklyn Nets are trying to turn it around with hiring Jacque Vaughn as head coach.

The latest in the Kyrie Irving saga.

LeBron James listed as day-to-day with nagging injuries.

Up next

Nov. 12 | 4 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Washington Wizards | AT&T SportsNet

Nov. 13 | 5:30 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Philadelphia 76ers | AT&T SportsNet

Nov. 15 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. New York Knicks | AT&T SportsNet

Nov. 18 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Phoenix Suns | AT&T SportsNet