VICE Sports called P.J. Tucker the “exact commodity the Rockets needed.” The 32-year-old forward is returning to Texas for what is arguably his greatest chance at winning an NBA championship so far in his career.
The former Longhorn has spent time overseas and most recently in Toronto after the Raptors made a last-minute trade deadline deal with the Phoenix Suns. A free agent this offseason, Tucker turned down more money from Toronto and Sacramento to sign with his buddies James Harden and Chris Paul as a Houston Rocket.
Tucker was the consolation prize after Andre Iguodala turned Houston down to return to the defending champion Golden State Warriors. His four-year, $32 million contract is slightly less than what Iguodala was offered, and was seen as a surprisingly long deal for a 32-year-old bench player, but the last year is non-guaranteed and this is a win-now move by Daryl Morey as a way to acquire some defensive help off the bench.
Tucker is essentially taking Sam Dekker’s spot in the rotation from last season. We’ll see Tucker play some three and four and guard anyone from 2-5, just like Luc Mbah a Moute. Tucker is a premier defender in the league and having that kind of flexibility in the second unit will help the Rockets incredibly.
The clip is from a few years back, but Tucker still has the ability to guard elite scorers from opponents. It is what made him a top trade target this February and free agency target this July.
Tucker’s chemistry with Paul and Harden coupled with his defensive abilities make him a valuable player for this team. He’s a career 35% from beyond and he’s exactly what you want in a Rocket. He’ll be a great fit with the second unit next to scorer Eric Gordon, and a solid defensive 1-2 punch with Mbah a Moute.
VICE Sports might be right, Tucker could very well be the most important Rockets acquisition of the offseason.