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  • Writer's pictureByron Washington

Tucker is Traded


PHOTO BY: Nathaniel S Butler(NBAE/ Getty Images)


PJ Tucker, the last remaining player from the Houston Rockets historical 2018 season, has been traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for DJ Augustine, DJ Wilson, a 2021 pick swap, and a 2023 unprotected first-round pick. In return, the Rockets are re-sending the Bucks their own 2022 first-round pick along with shooting guard Rodions Kurucs.

Tucker is a prototypical 3&D wing player who can slide to the forward or center position when teams decide to play small-ball. He’s a perfect fit for any team in today’s modern-style NBA. His numbers have certainly regressed this season, only shooting 36% from the field and 31% from the 3 point line and he’s 36 years of age.

Milwaukee is hoping that Tucker’s poor play isn’t a sign of wearing down and Father Time is meeting him at his doorstep, but uninspired play on a rebuilding Rockets team who just saw its eight-year franchise player James Harden force his way out of town and one of Tuckers closest friends. The Bucks are betting on the player we’ve seen play so hard and inspired on contending teams he’s been a part of in the past. In four years with the Rockets Tucker’s physicality was on display nightly. His will to win and grit brought an identity to the 2018 team who won a franchise-record 65 games ultimately losing to the Golden State Warriors in 7 games. Tucker even played game 7 after undergoing three root canals which he told no one in the organization about at the time.

When you hear about stories such as what Fucker played through, you shake your head in disbelief but for a guy who had to play overseas for five years just to improve while hoping to get back to the NBA, it’s smart not to be so unbelievable. Those sort of players cherishes every moment, leave it all on the line while doing it on the highest level the game has to offer. In Milwaukee, the Bucks are getting the league’s best corner 3 point shooter.

Over the past five seasons, Tucker has made 372 corner 3-point shots, the most by any player and a tenacious defender to play along with Jrue Holiday and superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo who in their own right are defensive nightmares for opponents. The Bucks defensive ability to have a lineup of Tucker, Holiday, Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez, and Khris Middleton to start games is going to be amazing to watch opponents trying to score on them but it also allows Milwaukee to finally match-up with other teams come playoff time when opponents like to go small and play traditional centers like Lopez off the court.

The Brooklyn Nets’ odds to make it out of the Eastern Conference and win the Title this year according to Vegasinsider.com is +280. The Los Angeles Lakers’ odds to win the title also +280. With the Bucks’ latest move they are doubling down on their defensive identity. It’s their only hope to thwart the highest-scoring team in the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets. Two different styles of play, offense firepower versus defensive firepower. The NBA Playoffs can’t get here any sooner.

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