PJ Tucker could not be happier along with his NBA expertise.
The Rockets ahead has turn out to be an important piece to Houston’s success over the previous two years and the unconventional ahead says guarding a number of the greatest offensive expertise in basketball is a “dream.”
“All people desires about scoring 30, getting the game-winner. No, no, no, not me,” Tucker instructed The Undefeated. “I really like my position. I really 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 received the utmost respect for Kevin. I take delight in it. That is one thing I wish to do. I can not 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 probably the most 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 of a weak spot, however right this moment’s NBA is simply the place for Tucker’s versatility and skillset.
“I knew that protection was my manner, however that’s the place I realized to take pleasure in it and noticed how a lot of an impact it might have on video games,” Tucker mentioned. “You may actually change video games that manner.”
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 put up 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 residence,” Tucker mentioned. “You need to discover ways to play over there. Over there, it ain’t dropping 30 each night time and being the person. Many of the guys who suppose like that do not final over there. They care about profitable over there. In the event you’re a winner, you may play endlessly 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 means 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 sequence Monday. They enter the matchup trailing 2-1 within the sequence.