Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Birthday: May 5, 1985
Experience: 2 years
Draft: 2006, 35th overall by Toronto
2013-14 Salary: $884,293
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Season Outlook: After becoming the most famous — maybe only — success story of former general manager Lance Blanks’ tenure, P.J. Tucker entered 2013-14 with a few question marks, if only because he wasn’t Jeff Hornacek or Ryan McDonough’s guy. Quickly, he affirmed by playing the way he does that no coach or general manager can discount effort and that a player will become a favorite with that alone. From the summer league to camp, Tucker cemented his starting small forward role, but he’s also looking to become more than a guy to play stellar defense.
Tucker has expanded his offensive skillset and most notably worked on spacing the floor with his corner three-point shooting. His success there should keep him on the floor within Hornacek’s offense, which aims to space the floor to open the lane for Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic to drive the ball. And of course, Tucker will be there when the Suns need to stop opposing perimeter threats, be it Kevin Durant, LeBron James or otherwise.
Biography: Born in Raleigh, N.C., P.J. Tucker left the basketball-rich state of North Carolina to become a Texas Longhorn where under Rick Barnes he became a Big 12 Player of the Year and second-team All-American.
After his junior season, Tucker opted for the NBA, and the journey has been complicated since being selected 35th overall by the Toronto Raptors in 2006. The 6-foot-6, 224-pound forward only played in 17 NBA games — mixed in with a couple D-League stints — before he found success overseas. He played all over the map, from Puerto Rico, to Israel, to the Ukraine, to Germany. Most recently in the German League in 2011-12, he averaged 16.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
Watched closely by fellow Longhorn alum and Suns general manager Lance Blanks, Tucker’s second try in the NBA will come in Phoenix on a two-year, partially guaranteed contract after playing with the Suns’ Summer League team.
Links to ValleyoftheSuns coverage of Tucker: