If the Washington Wizards aren’t able to pry Robert Covington away from the Rockets, then maybe there’s someone else on that roster that could come to D.C. and do some defensive dirty work.
Nobody over the past few seasons has defined NBA grit like PJ Tucker. He might measure just 6’5″, but Tucker has been repeatedly asked to bang down low with some of the bigger and better players in the NBA. Seriously, if you check Tucker’s profile on Basketball Reference, his position reads “Power Forward and Small Forward and Shooting Guard.” And even though they didn’t throw “Center” in there, too, just for fun, Tucker spent more than 15 percent of his defensive minutes matched up with opposing fives.
Tucker’s defensive versatility, like Covington’s, is one of the reasons Houston’s always-small strategy was able to thrive. Despite not having the size, necessarily, Tucker still has the skill to guard nearly every position on the floor. Plus, he’s absolutely deadly from the corners.
Offensively, the Rockets were a lot of standing and watching and waiting while Harden went to work. To be fair, it worked. And no one stood and waited, ready to make an impact, better than Tucker.
Last season, Tucker made 90 of his 230 attempted corner threes; 38 percent. When shooting from the corners last season, Tucker posted an effective field goal percentage (eFG%) of at least 53 percent from each corner. He was especially accurate from the left corner, posting an eFG% of 63.1 percent there. All 90 of his made attempts were assisted.
With John Wall forcing defenses to collapse and crowd the paint, there’s no reason to think Tucker can’t have similar success from the corners in D.C.
Tucker is in the final year of his contract and is set to make $7.9 million during the 2020-21 season.