The Houston Rockets trade of P.J. Tucker to the Milwaukee Bucks leaves the recently injured Eric Gordon as the longest-tenured Rocket and the only holdover from their 65 win team in 2017-18. Tucker was a unique player for the Rockets who was able to guard players on the wing and in the post while also being a credible threat from 3-point range.
His dip in production this season led to a light trade return but his leadership and versatility will be sorely missed for a Rockets team that has endured a franchise-worst losing streak. However, every departure provides a new opportunity and the Rockets are now set to begin their quest to find the next P.J. Tucker.
Houston Rockets: Who will be the next P.J. Tucker?
The Rockets will be hard-pressed to find an exact replica of Tucker but they need someone to fill his hybrid role as a stretch-four and wing defender. The most important quality, for whomever mans the Tucker-role, is defensive versatility.
Outside of defensive versatility, the next most crucial trait is for the player to be able to be a low-usage offensive contributor. Whether it’s through cutting, spot-up shooting, or quick decisive passes the player needs to be able to boost the offense without having the ball in their hands constantly.
The Rockets are entering a rebuild and they need to find useful NBA players who can contribute to their next playoff-caliber team. These are three players that can fill P.J. Tucker’s shoes.