The Los Angeles Lakers were recently mentioned by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski as potentially interested in P.J. Tucker. On the final year of his contract and in the midst of a restructuring of the Houston Rockets, a team that no longer is contending for the championship, they will probably look at trading the veteran to get something in return.
The Lakers, always active on the phones, could be a great landing spot for Tucker as he would represent a solid addition to the team.
While still to be determined what the Rockets would get in return in a possible deal, he would certainly come to extend LA’s wing depth, something helpful in this moment without Anthony Davis, but that will be of great use on the long term as well.
It is still to be seen how the Lakers could get him, but, should he land in Los Angeles, Tucker would probably take over Markieff Morris’s minutes (whether he is gone or not), since the wing rotation is already staffed and Morris has been somewhat a disappointment this season.
How P.J. Tucker fits on the Los Angeles Lakers:
Although not having a great season so far, P.J. would be a solid veteran presence on the floor for a contending team. Sharing the court with LeBron James, his fit is undeniable. Rob Pelinka is always in search of shooting to put around the Chosen One and that is what the 35-year-old does.
A 35.9 percent three-point shooter, Tucker’s offensive role the last three years in Houston has been that to complement James Harden, basically standing on the arc waiting for his pass to trigger the long-distance shot.
The corner is his most famous and favorite location, which makes the perfect spot for spacing. This season 82 percent of his three-point attempts come from the corner and he is nailing them with a 36.7 percent accuracy.
This tendency would translate very well in the Lakers’ offense, even when Anthony Davis returns to the lineup from his Achilles injury. In the meantime, playing for a second unit that features Montrezl Harrell in the middle for extensive minutes, will be greatly beneficial as well for LA.
The 2019/20 season has not been that good for Tucker so far. All his numbers are down, but the unstable situation in Houston (combined with the uncertainty of his future) has certainly played a role.
He would definitely benefit to join a much more stable situation and with a purpose as great as the championship within reach. The former Sun and Raptor has always dedicated all of himself to the ultimate goal and given a valuable contribution. As a matter of fact, he constantly raised his production in the playoffs.
On the defensive end, the Lakers would add a great defender to the best defense in the league. That looks scary.
Although never (!) making an All-Defensive Team, Tucker is widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the league. Through the last three seasons, he averaged a 2.8 defensive win share.
His ability to defend multiple positions, his toughness and his hustle make him the kind of hard-nosed, versatile gatekeeper everyone would like to have on the floor. Despite his size, he is able to guard bigger players thanks to his strength (officially listed 245 lbs), making him perfect to switch on the pick-and-roll and create some problems in the low post.
Oh, and he has the longest active streak of consecutive games played. That speaks loud of his endurance and solidity.
Tucker is at a point in his career where he is looking to win a ring. His prime days are long gone and despite a hard start of his career, he managed to make a fair amount of money. Playing on the final year of a $32 million contract, his next deal will not be that high.
He will anyway look for the best chance to still profit from his late years, so it would be important for him to end up this season on a team that gives him a real shot at the championship.
The fit between Lakers basketball and Tucker’s game is there to be exploited.