Going into the season, few people knew what to expect from P.J. Tucker. After a short stint in the NBA with the Raptors several years ago, Tucker played on various teams in Israel, Ukraine, Germany, Italy and Greece. Most Suns fans expected Tucker to receive little playing time and have a limited bench role in Phoenix.
But now, considering the fact that Tucker made less than $1 million this season, it is impossible to say that the Suns made the wrong move given his production.
Tucker played 79 games this season and started 45, with averages of 6.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Those numbers aren't eye-popping, but Tucker contributes on the court in a number of ways.
First of all, he is a lockdown defender. That video shows footage of Tucker working defensively on Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, and he was effectively able to shut all three superstars down while he was on the court.
Tucker also held Kobe to four points on 1-of-8 shooting. He is athletic, he has a huge wingspan and, most importantly, he hustles more than anyone else on the court. He was a power forward in college because he often plays like one, and there is a reason Tucker has the second-most offensive rebounds on the roster despite being just 6'5".
Tucker may not be a legitimate offensive weapon you give the ball to in the fourth quarter, but he is a decent shooter. He shot 47 percent from the field and a solid 31 percent from downtown. He can't be relied on as a consistent scoring option, but he is great in the fast break and certainly doesn't hurt the team offensively as some people thought he might.
The Suns found a gem in P.J. Tucker. He is only 27 years old, and yet, with his great determination and work ethic, he is probably the best "veteran" for the younger players on that team.