We’ve officially reached a point in the NBA season where the trade rumor mill is running rampant. With All-Star weekend officially in the rearview mirror, teams that view themselves as serious championship contenders are hard at work, hoping to patch any holes in their roster with proven veterans. Several squads, the Philadelphia 76ers among them, have their eyes on Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker.
In fact, at the time of this article’s publication there already exist a plethora of reports indicating that it is all but a certainty that Tucker won’t be a member of the Houston Rockets for much longer. According to Tom Haberstoh of TrueHoop, “several rival executives” believe Tucker will ultimately end up with the Philadelphia 76ers. If this report bears true, there are two different paths for Tucker to make his way onto the Sixers roster. One of them is via trade where the price would most likely be a second round pick. Another option is the Houston Rockets choosing to buy the forward out, allowing him to freely sign with another team (As the Pistons did with Blake Griffin who quickly signed with the Brooklyn Nets).
A relevant question to ask is how much is left in PJ Tucker’s tank. He’s lauded around the league as one of the hardest working players of this generation, but that consistent effort inevitably takes a toll on a player’s body. This is especially true in the case of Tucker who has routinely been tasked with guarding frontcourt players much bigger than himself as part of Houston’s “microball” experiment last year.
The wear and tear on Tucker’s body has shown itself this season, as he is shooting a career worst 36.6% from the field and 31.4% from behind the arc. Despite these appalling numbers, teams are still eager to acquire the veteran for a playoff run. This is because Tucker’s greatest asset, his tenacious defense, is also one that will perfectly translate to playoff basketball, where obtaining stops is the single most important factor in winning games.
It also doesn’t hurt that PJ Tucker is a seasoned veteran who has repeatedly shown his value during the playoffs. He’s played in fifty such contests, usually guarding the opposing team’s best forward. While he wouldn’t crack the Philadelphia 76ers starting lineup, he would be a helpful addition to the bench, particularly when the team opts for a more defensive lineup.