P.J. Tucker, Toronto Raptors
The Toronto Raptors were busy last year at the trade deadline. Not only did they acquire Serge Ibaka from the Orlando Magic. They also acquired P.J. Tucker from the Phoenix Suns. The hope with Tucker was he would be something of a “LeBron stopper.” The Raptors wanted him to be their key perimeter defender.
Whatever offense he provided would be a bonus. But even that was a bit of a disappointment despite a solid 3-point percentage. And his defense? Well, his defense in Toronto was not the best — a solid 1.9 defensive box plus-minus. But he was definitely exposed a bit in the Playoffs.
The truth is with Tucker is that he is a solid player. What he does not have in scoring he makes up for with his bullish defense. But he has to continue improving his shot to become valuable on the floor. With the Suns, he was a solid workhorse of a player. But in the spotlight with the Raptors? He had his issues.
It is not clear whether the Raptors will choose to keep Tucker. They have his Bird Rights, but also have to deal with Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka in free agency. They may not have the money to retain all three. And with Norman Powell on the roster, Tucker might be the odd man out.
So how much could Tucker make? And what does Tucker want? That could be an issue too.
For the Magic, he would play small forward. But would he help spread the floor for the Magic’s shooters?
His versatility would be valuable. He can guard almost any position, even though he does not have great athleticism or length. Tucker is just a solid player and a strong guy who is tough to move.