Rockets News

Houston Rockets: P.J. Tucker is the most underrated player in the league

By Anthony Duckett
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 06: PJ Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets celebrates in the fourth quarter during Game Four of the Second Round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Toyota Center on May 4, 2019 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 06: PJ Tucker #17 of the Houston Rockets celebrates in the fourth quarter during Game Four of the Second Round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs against the Golden State Warriors at Toyota Center on May 4, 2019 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
facebooktwitterreddit

Tucker of the Houston Rockets is a great overall player without question. You could argue he is the best 3 and D player in the league. But does he get the credit he deserves? Here’s why I think Tucker is under-rated.

P.J. Tucker has thrived in his role with the Houston Rockets since he has been on the team, which is incredible considering the fact that Tucker got to Houston at age 32. At that point, Tucker almost had ran out of teams to sign with, which has to make every team in the league cringe. Tucker is a type of player every team could use and is a great fit in the modern-day NBA as he can shot the 3-ball well and plays great defense.

To the latter point, Tucker always defends the opposing team’s best players, often drawing the assignment of LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard. In addition, Tucker shot 45.6% and 46.7% from three in each of the last 2 post-seasons. It seems obvious to Red nation that Tucker is invaluable to the Rockets.

Not recognized nationally

But I’m not sure he gets noticed nationally. For starters, Tucker has never made an All-Star team. Granted Tucker is a career 7.4 points per game scorer, so you wouldn’t expect him to make an All-Star team. I would consider it disrespectful that Tucker has never been named a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year and has never been named to any of the All-Defense teams. How could that be the case when he’s going against the best and limiting them?

The Rockets are also always dangling Tucker in trade talks, which makes me sometimes question whether they see the importance of Tucker on this roster. Tucker is not a player I would be wanting to move if I could prevent it. Tucker has a unique and diverse skill set in that he was one of only 2 players this past season in the entire league to have at least 145 threes made, 130 steals and 35 blocks. The only other player to do that was his teammate, James Harden.

In this past year’s playoffs, Tucker averaged 11.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game as well while leading the Rockets in minutes per game and 3-point shooting.

Not only that, but Tucker has uniquely seemed to get much better as he’s gotten older which makes sense because his game isn’t based off freakish athleticism. For this very reason, I could see Tucker’s stellar play continuing late into his 30’s. He played the most minutes in his career this past season and shot the third-best 3-point percentage of his entire career. But not only that, Tucker was one of only 7 players who started all 82 games this past season. This was the first time in his career that he accomplished that feat as well.

Some may think Tucker gets his credit as he has gotten invited to play for Team USA this summer but let’s face it. Would he have been on the roster if literally everyone else had accepted the invite? I’m not exactly sure he does.

Hopefully, the Houston Rockets will realize Tucker is someone whose value and worth are unquestioned. He’s under contract for 2 more years and has already said he wants to sign an extension. Here’s to hoping they sign him to one because he’s the type of player that every team could use in that he welcomes the challenge of defending the opposing team’s best player, knows how to pick his spots, doesn’t need a lot of shot attempts and doesn’t complain about how many points he scores.

Next. Offseason grade for the Rockets

Not to mention the fact that he’s worth far more than the 8 million he’s making annually!

facebooktwitterreddit