PJ Tucker could not be happier along with his NBA expertise.
The Rockets ahead has change into an important piece to Houston’s success over the previous two years and the unconventional ahead says guarding among the finest offensive expertise in basketball is a “dream.”
“All people goals about scoring 30, getting the game-winner. No, no, no, not me,” Tucker advised The Undefeated. “I like my position. I like what I do. It sounds loopy, however that is my dream. I am dwelling my dream proper now guarding Kevin Durant within the NBA playoffs.”
“I bought the utmost respect for Kevin. I take satisfaction in it. That is one thing I wish to do. I am unable to wait to protect Kevin Durant. No one desires to protect Kevin Durant.”
Durant is averaging 35.6 factors per recreation on this yr’s playoffs and is taken into account one of the vital proficient scorers ever. Tucker, nonetheless, welcomes the problem. The 6-5 wing has been tasked with defending guards, forwards and even facilities all through 2018-19.
Being a “tweener” was thought-about a weak point, however in the present day’s NBA is simply the place for Tucker’s versatility and skillset.
“I knew that protection was my approach, however that’s the place I discovered to get pleasure from it and noticed how a lot of an impact it might have on video games,” Tucker mentioned. “You’ll be able to actually change video games that approach.”
Tucker entered the 2006 NBA Draft as a second-team All-American and was chosen by the Raptors with the 35th total decide. He was an undersized publish participant with excessive expectations for himself however could not earn enjoying time. After averaging simply 1.eight factors and 1.four rebounds throughout his rookie marketing campaign, Tucker took a five-year hiatus from the NBA and performed abroad.
“It was robust being away from dwelling,” Tucker mentioned. “You need to learn to play over there. Over there, it ain’t dropping 30 each evening and being the person. A lot of the guys who suppose like that do not final over there. They care about profitable over there. If you happen to’re a winner, you’ll be able to play eternally over there.”
Tucker returned to the NBA in 2012 and performed 79 video games for the Suns that season, carving out a task for himself within the NBA for years to come back.
Tucker has performed in all 82 video games for the Rockets in two consecutive seasons and Houston was only one win away from reaching the NBA Finals in 2017-18.
The gritty defender did not even try a 3-pointer as a rookie, however has developed into one of many league’s higher threats from the corners.
Protection, nonetheless, nonetheless stays Tucker’s calling card.
“I am nonetheless persevering by way of to make it so guys which might be like me can have that lane to say, ‘I can do it,’ ” Tucker mentioned.
The Rockets will face the Warriors in Recreation four of their second-round collection Monday. They enter the matchup trailing 2-1 within the collection.