P.J. Tucker
P.J. Tucker
33-Year-Old ForwardF
Houston Rockets
2018 Fantasy Outlook
After inking a four-year, $31.9 million contract with the Rockets prior to the 2017-18 campaign, Tucker immediately became a reliable defender with his new team, pairing with the likes of Chris Paul, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Corey Brewer to provide the Rockets with a defensive presence that the team sorely lacked previously. That tenacious defense kept Tucker in a significant role for the entire season and even earned him 34 starts across 82 games. While his 6.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.0 steal didn't necessarily scream Fantasy upside, he did improve as a three-point shooter while playing in one of the league's fastest-paced offenses. Tucker wound up hitting a career-high 1.4 three-pointers, while also upping his efficiency from beyond the arc to 37.1 percent, which was likely due to the number of uncontested looks he received while playing alongside elite play-makers like James Harden and Chris Paul. Already an improved 3-and-D player, Tucker could transition into a full-time starter for the Rockets during the upcoming campaign. Houston lost fellow defensive players Brewer and Mbah a Moute during free agency, and also indicated that newly-acquired Carmelo Anthony could come off the bench. That would leave Tucker to start at either small forward or power forward. Still, even if Tucker does open the year with the top unit, his minutes will likely only increase by a little bit and his value is still more intriguing in reality than in Fantasy. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $31.88 million contract with the Rockets in July of 2017.
Swats four blocks in Game 5 win
FHouston Rockets
April 24, 2019
Tucker tallied eight points (2-7 FG, 2-6 3Pt, 2-4 FT), nine rebounds, four blocks, one assist, and one steal in 40 minutes during Wednesday's 100-93 Game 5 win over the Jazz.
Tucker was tough as nails as per usual while contributing across every category. He's obviously still prone to the occasional off night offensively, but this was the first time that Tucker failed to reach double figures in scoring here in these playoffs.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Tucker opened the 2016-17 campaign in his fifth year with the Suns, playing in 57 games (17 stars), while posting averages of 7.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.5 steals across 28.5 minutes. However, with the Suns in rebuild mode and Tucker entering the final year of his contract, they opted to trade him to a playoff contender at the trade deadline in order get some sort of value before he left in free agency. That team ended up being the Raptors, who Tucker helped out as a sixth man off the bench. Across 24 games in that role, Tucker saw his averages fall a bit to 5.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.3 steals over 25.4 minutes, though that wasn't all too surprising considering the upgrade in talent around him. After the Raptors got bounced in the second round of the playoffs, Tucker opted to pass on a long term extension and instead, inked a four-year, $31.9 million deal with the Rockets. He's expected to slot in as the backup small forward to Trevor Ariza, which should keep his minutes fairly similar to what he saw in Toronto. With Chris Paul and James Harden doing the bulk of the work offensively, Tucker will likely be relied upon more as a defensive presence, something the Rockets have sorely lacked in recent years. He also shot a solid 40 percent from deep in his brief stay with Toronto, marking him as another three-and-D option at forward. The Rockets like to push the floor at an uptempo pace and get shots up quickly, which could allow Tucker to see a slight increase in his overall production. That said, the boost in numbers would only be minor, so his combined 2016-17 numbers should be a solid benchmark for his expectations moving forward.
For the fourth straight season, Tucker was the Suns’ top defensive stopper on the perimeter and was one of the few players on the roster who stayed healthy, suiting up in all 82 games for the first time in his career. The 31-year-old is valued for his ability to force opponents to take tough shots and commit turnovers, attributes that aren’t insignificant given the Suns’ team-wide struggles with guarding the three-point line a season ago. Tucker’s 6.2 rebounds per game were also an impressive figure for a player listed at 6-foot-6, but beyond that, he doesn’t bring much to the table. As a complementary player, Tucker rarely makes much of an impact on the offensive end, which was reflected in his averages of 8.0 points, 2.2 assists and 0.8 three-pointers in 31.0 minutes per game. He wasn’t particularly efficient with his opportunities either, shooting 41.1 percent from the floor and 33 percent from the three-point line. It didn’t help matters that Tucker played much of the second half without the injured Eric Bledsoe or Brandon Knight to help set him up, but the return of both guards to full health won’t necessarily translate to better offensive production for Tucker. Prior to suffering a season-ending broken foot in late January, T.J. Warren was beginning to encroach on Tucker’s playing time, and the third-year forward could very well overtake Tucker for starting duties to begin the upcoming campaign. Tucker was sidelined in mid-September following back surgery and was ruled out for six-to-eight weeks, likely keeping him off the court when the season begins in late October.
Tucker has found new life in Phoenix after five years away from the NBA following his rookie season with the Raptors back in 2006. He's played at least 78 games in each of the last three seasons and has established himself as an integral part of the Suns' rotation, starting a total of 144 games since the start of the 2013-14 campaign. Morris' numbers last season were nearly identical to his 2013-14 production, as he put up 9.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game in 31 minutes. While his field goal percentage took a slight leap from 43 to 44 percent, he was less efficient from the outside, converting only 35 percent of his attempts after shooting the three at a 39-percent clip two seasons ago. The Suns' roster is rather thin at the small forward spot, and Tucker currently projects as the starter. However, second-year swingman T.J. Warren showed promise last season and should step into a larger role, while rookie Devin Booker could play the three in certain situations. Regardless, even if Tucker doesn't reach the 30-minute-per-game plateau for the third straight year, his playing time doesn't figure to see a major regression.
Tucker is entering his fourth season in the NBA and his third season with the Suns. He emerged as a starter for the upstart Suns last season and averaged a career-high 9.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 steals in 31 minutes per game while shooting 43 percent on 7.6 shots from the field, 39 percent on 2.4 shots from three, and 78 percent on 2.5 shots from the free-throw line. As an enforcer for the Suns, Tucker is known mostly for his defense and will contribute in fantasy accordingly. He rebounds very well for his size (6.5 boards per game in 2013-14) and chipped in 1.4 steals per game last season. However, outside of those categories, Tucker is a low-end option for fantasy purposes. Even with over 30 minutes per game last season, he couldn't muster a double-digit point average and now finds himself suspended for the first three games of the season following a "super extreme" DUI arrest.
Tucker has carved out a niche as a solid tweener who does a little of just about everything. His work ethic allows him to rebound well for a player his size and guard larger players. Mainly, the veteran's expectations will be to infect the rest of the young roster with his approach.
Tucker is back in the NBA after five seasons playing internationally with stops in Puerto Rico, Greece, Israel, and Germany. If Tucker ends up playing a significant role for the Suns this year there's a good chance things have gone disastrously wrong in Phoenix.
Tucker, taken in the second round this year, has an outside chance to muscle his way into a Charles Oakley-like enforcer role in the NBA if he can improve his shooting and take full advantage of every opportunity that comes his way.
More Fantasy News
Surprises with offensive surge
FHouston Rockets
April 18, 2019
Tucker produced 16 points (5-8 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 2-2 FT), four rebounds and two steals across 34 minutes during the Rockets' 118-98 win over the Jazz in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series Wednesday.
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Kept off board in win
FHouston Rockets
April 4, 2019
Tucker failed to score (0-2 FG, 0-1 3Pt), four rebounds, two steals and one block in 27 minutes in Wednesday's 135-103 win over the Clippers.
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Pulls down 10 boards in win
FHouston Rockets
March 22, 2019
Tucker finished with no points (0-3 FG, 0-3 3Pt), 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks over 37 minutes in the Rockets' win over the Spurs on Friday.
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Swipes five steals in Friday's win
FHouston Rockets
March 15, 2019
Tucker totaled zero points (0-3 FG, 0-3 3Pt), five rebounds, and five steals in 32 minutes during Friday's 108-102 win over the Suns.
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Does little in win
FHouston Rockets
March 8, 2019
Tucker totaled three points (1-3 FG, 1-3 3Pt), three rebounds, three steals and an assist across 30 minutes in the Rockets' win over the 76ers on Friday.
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