Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Birthday: May 5, 1985
Experience: 1 year
Draft: 2006, 35th overall by Toronto
2012-13 Salary: $762,195
Season Outlook: Tucker is at the end of what could become a solid rotation, but it’s quite possible he forces himself into the conversation. The wing position is crowded with the likes of Jared Dudley, Michael Beasley, Shannon Brown and Wesley Johnson taking up the minutes at the shooting guard and small forward slots. Tucker, however, brings something none of the other players possess.
The second stint in the NBA markets Tucker as a Tony Allen-like perimeter defender, an energy-inducing presence whose physicality will affect the game more than anything that appears in the box score. Tucker will be an undersized force on the boards, and he is a capable spot-up shooter who could be playing off others in the second unit to stretch the floor. His role will depend on if Gentry needs something other than scoring from Brown and Johnson. At the very least, Tucker’s daily performances in practice could impact the team’s toughness as a whole. – Kevin Zimmerman
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.
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