P.J Tucker (Shooting Guard-Small Forward)
MIN: 24.2|FG%: 47.3|3P%: 31.4|FT%: 74.4|REB: 4.4|AST: 1.4|BLK: 0.2|STL: 0.8|PTS: 6.4
Let’s be clear, there were zero positives for the Phoenix Suns this past season, but if there was a speck of a speck of silver lining it would be P.J Tucker. In his first season back in the NBA since the 2006-2007 season, Tucker established himself as one of the top defenders in the league.
At the outset Tucker struggled with his offensive game but as the season went along Tucker’s offensive numbers took a steady climb. During the month of November Tucker averaged just 3.9 points on 46% shooting and during the month of April Tucker averaged 10.9 points on 54% shooting.
Despite his size, Tucker had the best rebounding rate out of all the Suns players including Marcin Gortat; Gortat averaged 11 rebounds every 40 minutes while Tucker averaged 11.1.
While P.J Tucker has already become a really good defensive player, the fact is, Tucker could still improve defensively. What allows Tucker to be so successful on the defensive end is his strength, basketball IQ, and intensity, but P.J needs to input some work into his footwork defensively against the more crafty players like James Harden and Manu Ginobili.
Tucker had a great year. He came from Europe to beat out an “established” player like Michael Beasley for the starting small forward spot on an NBA team for most of the year, was a good to great defender for big portions of the season, and toward the end, improved his shot, even extending it to the short-corner-three. I think Tucker will be back, but if the Suns are going anywhere ever, P.J. needs to be that seventh guy who gives the team defense and a spark of energy.