P.J. Tucker
P.J. Tucker
34-Year-Old ForwardF
Houston Rockets
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Tucker averaged 7.3 points and 5.8 rebounds for Houston last season, starting all 82 games for the first time in his career. He doesn't offer much in the way of scoring or field-goal percentage primarily because 72.8 percent of his shots over the last two seasons have been threes. The good news is that his three-point shooting has been respectable, with 1.8 triples made per contest at a 37.7 rate in 2018-19. A 3-and-D frontcourt player, Tucker led the league in corner threes last season while providing solid interior defense for Houston with a career-high 2.1 combined blocks/steals per game. Tucker's point totals are not consistent, but he can heat up when his three-ball is falling, and he finished the year hitting at least three triples in 29 games. He provides a safe floor in terms of minutes, having averaged 31.0 minutes in two seasons with the Rockets, including a career-high 34.2 minutes in 2018-19. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year, $31.88 million contract with the Rockets in July of 2017.
Working out in New York
FHouston Rockets
September 26, 2019
Tucker (ankle) worked out in New York this week and appears to have moved past the ankle injury that kept him away from Team USA, Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic reports.
Tucker pulled out of Team USA camp prior to the FIBA World Cup due to an ankle issue, but with a few weeks to recover, the forward appears to be back to full strength. Expect Tucker to play his usual role this season as the Rockets' most versatile defender, who can also be a threat to hit corner threes.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
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.
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
Pulls out of FIBA World Cup
FHouston Rockets
August 16, 2019
Tucker recently picked up an ankle injury and informed USA Basketball on Friday that he would withdraw from the upcoming FIBA World Cup, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
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Strong finish to the season
FHouston Rockets
May 10, 2019
Tucker had 15 points (5-8 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, three steals, and two assists in 45 minutes during Friday's 118-113 loss to Golden State.
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Plays a team-high 45 minutes in loss
FHouston Rockets
May 8, 2019
Tucker ended with 13 points (5-9 FG, 3-5 3Pt), 10 rebounds, two steals, one assist, and one block in 45 minutes during Wednesday's 104-99 loss to Golden State.
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Double-doubles in impressive effort
FHouston Rockets
May 6, 2019
Tucker finished with 17 points (6-12 FG, 3-6 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block in 42 minutes during Monday's 112-108 victory over the Warriors.
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Plays team-high 41 minutes Tuesday
FHouston Rockets
April 30, 2019
Tucker amassed 14 points (3-5 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 4-4 FT), 10 rebounds, two assists, and one steal in 41 minutes during Tuesday's 115-109 loss to the Warriors.
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