The NBA All-Defensive Teams were announced Tuesday, and Houston Rockets defensive ace P.J. Tucker was notably absent from both First and Second Teams.
The Houston Rockets are playing the best defense they’ve played since nearly making the NBA Finals a couple of years ago, and one of the main reasons for that is the play of P.J. Tucker. Along with Robert Covington and James Harden, Tucker has been one of the cornerstones of the team’s best-rated defense in the playoffs.
The criteria for earning NBA awards seems to be ever-changing, as sometimes they seem more like popularity contests or based on statistics alone rather than who’s most deserving. In the case of this year’s All-Defensive Team selections, it appears that the former is true.
You can see all 10 selections made by the NBA media in Alykhan Bihani’s tweet below:
P.J. Tucker has still NEVER been voted onto a NBA All-Defensive Team. pic.twitter.com/6U62wpHTLH
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) September 8, 2020
As you can see, three Milwaukee Bucks were selected to the two teams. While they did have a stellar defense in the regular season, their effort in the playoffs so far had them seconds away from a second-round sweep at the hands of the Miami Heat.
Of course, voting is determined for regular season play, so the fact that they’re close to falling short in the playoffs yet again can’t really be held against them. But is Eric Bledsoe honestly a better defender than P.J. Tucker?
According to a later tweet by Bijani, Tucker received just 29 votes overall, all for the Second Team. That’s halfway to Bledsoe’s total of 59 votes, the fewest by anyone that was selected. Some of the Rockets’ faithful had some things to say about the snub:
I’m sorry, I must have missed PJ Tucker’s name on these lists. https://t.co/AwCtS1ANsI
— Cayleigh Griffin (@cayleighgriffin) September 8, 2020
— Roosh (@RooshWilliams) September 8, 2020
What Tucker does for the Houston Rockets
It’s hard to sum up into words just how much P.J. Tucker does on the court on a nightly basis. He’s frequently giving up six or seven inches in size and is asked to do everything a traditional center does nonetheless.
P.J. has had resounding success guarding some of the NBA’s best big men by bullying them out of the block and not giving an inch when they attempt to post him up. If the players voted on this award, I’d have to think Tucker would get more love than he’s been getting from the media throughout his career.
As the series with the Lakers continues, look for Tucker to keep showing why his defense has always been so underrated. Maybe one day, he’ll get his due.