P. J. Tucker
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Tucker with the Phoenix Suns in 2012
|No. 17 – Houston Rockets|
|Born||May 5, 1985|
Raleigh, North Carolina
|Listed height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Listed weight||245 lb (111 kg)|
|High school||William G. Enloe|
(Raleigh, North Carolina)
|NBA draft||2006 / Round: 2 / Pick: 35th overall|
|Selected by the Toronto Raptors|
|2011||Piratas de Quebradillas|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Anthony Leon "P. J." Tucker Jr. (born May 5, 1985) is an American professional basketball player of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the 2020-21 NBA season for the Houston Rockets. He attended the University of Texas at Austin. He was the 2008 Israeli Basketball Premier League MVP, and Israeli Basketball Premier League Finals MVP.
High school and college
Tucker attended William G. Enloe High School in Raleigh before playing college basketball for the University of Texas. In high school, Tucker was named North Carolina Player of the Year in 2002 and his jersey number was later retired. In his three seasons at Texas, he scored 1,169 points, including a career-high 594 in the 2005–06 season. He also had 714 rebounds, 170 assists (including 107 in 2005–06), and 116 steals throughout his career. After being unable to play most of his sophomore season due to poor academics, Tucker was named a second-team All-American and the Big 12 Player of the Year in his junior year.
Toronto Raptors (2006–2007)
On January 5, 2007, the Raptors announced that Tucker had been sent to the Colorado 14ers of the NBA Development League. Colorado, led by head coach Joe Wolf, had been designated as Toronto's D-League affiliate for the 2006–07 season. On February 6, 2007, the Raptors recalled Tucker to the NBA. On March 6, 2007, Tucker was sent back to the 14ers.
In the 2007–08 season with Hapoel Holon from Israeli Premier League, Tucker won the MVP trophy and led his team to the league title. Holon broke Maccabi Tel Aviv's 14-year streak as Israeli champions. He was the 2008 Israeli Basketball Premier League Finals MVP.
For the 2008–09 season he signed with a BC Donetsk team that was just promoted to the Ukrainian Basketball Super League. He led the team to a current third place in the league at its first appearance there, as well as become a Ukrainian SuperLeague All-Star. A season ending knee injury didn't prevent Tucker from finishing the season with the highest average of points per game in the league. On October 7, 2009, Tucker renewed his contract with Donetsk for the 2009–10 season. After the team bankrupted he returned to Israel in March 2010 and signed for Bnei HaSharon until the end of the season.
Phoenix Suns (2012–2017)
During the summer of 2012, Tucker signed a contract to play for Spartak St. Petersburg of Russia, but he soon opted out of it to play for the Phoenix Suns' NBA Summer League team, and on August 1, 2012, he signed a two-year deal with the Suns, with a team option in his second year. In his first game back in the NBA, Tucker recorded 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block in an 87–85 loss to the Golden State Warriors. On November 23, 2012, he scored a then career-high 15 points in a 111–108 overtime win over the New Orleans Hornets. Tucker made his first start for the Suns on December 31 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, as he started the majority of the Suns' games for the rest of the 2012–13 NBA season.
On February 8, 2014, Tucker recorded 16 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and 4 steals in a 122–109 win over the Warriors, becoming the first Suns player to have 15 points, 15 rebounds and 4 steals in a game since Shawn Marion in 2007. On February 25, he tied his career high with a 15-rebound effort against the Minnesota Timberwolves. On April 6, Tucker scored a career-high 22 points in a 122–115 win over the Thunder.
On June 27, 2014, the Suns extended Tucker a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent. On July 23, he re-signed with the Suns to a three-year, $16.5 million contract. In August 2014, he was suspended for the first three games of the 2014–15 season without pay for pleading guilty to driving while under the extreme influence in May 2014. He returned from suspension on November 4, 2014, to face the Los Angeles Lakers.
On December 31, 2015, Tucker tied his career high of 22 points in a loss to the Thunder. On January 26, 2016, he recorded a career-high eight assists in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. On March 14, he scored a career-high 23 points in a 107–104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He topped that mark on April 7, scoring 24 points in a 124–115 win over the Houston Rockets. He played in all 82 games for the Suns in 2015–16, the only player to do so.
On September 15, 2016, Tucker underwent a successful low back microdiscectomy procedure and was subsequently ruled out for six to eight weeks. He returned in time for the start of the regular season, but was assigned a bench role for the first time since the 2012–13 season. He returned to the starting lineup in late November following an injury to T. J. Warren. On November 27, 2016, he scored a season-high 21 points against the Denver Nuggets. Tucker reassumed his bench role in late December following Warren's return from injury; he continued coming off the bench for the Suns throughout the season until the All-Star break.
Return to Toronto (2017)
On February 23, 2017, Tucker was traded back to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Jared Sullinger, second-round draft picks in 2017 and 2018 and cash considerations. The next day, in his first game as a Raptor since 2007, Tucker had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in a 107–97 win over the Boston Celtics. On April 15, 2017, after playing 418 games over seven seasons, Tucker made his playoff debut in the Raptors' 97–83 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. The Raptors went on to defeat the Bucks in six games to move on to the second round, where they faced the Cleveland Cavaliers. There they were swept 4–0 by the Cavaliers. In Game 4 of the series, a 109–102 loss, Tucker had 14 points and 12 rebounds in his first career playoff start.
Houston Rockets (2017–2021)
On July 6, 2017, Tucker signed a four-year, $32 million contract with the Houston Rockets. In his debut for the Rockets in their season opener on October 17, 2017, Tucker scored 20 points in a 122–121 win over the Golden State Warriors. He hit two free throws with 44.1 seconds left to make it 122–121. On March 30, 2018, he scored 18 points and made a career-high five 3-pointers in a 104–103 win over the Suns. In Game 5 of the Rockets' first-round playoff series against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Tucker scored a playoff career-high 15 points in a 122–104 series-clinching win. In Game 5 of the Rockets' second-round series against the Utah Jazz, Tucker set a then new playoff career high with 19 points in a 112–102 series-clinching win. In Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors, Tucker set a new playoff career high with 22 points in a 127–105 win, helping the Rockets tie the series at 1–1. The Rockets went on to lose to the Warriors in seven games.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Tucker is the son of Anthony Sr. and Aleshia Tucker. His real name is Anthony Leon Tucker Jr., but his dad called him "Pop Junior," hence PJ. He spent part of his childhood living in Germany while his father served in the Army.
In May 2014, Tucker was arrested for DUI by Scottsdale police. As a result, Tucker received a three-day jail sentence and 11 days of house detention. In addition, an ignition interlock device was placed on his vehicles for 18 months, he was placed on five-year probation, was subject to substance abuse screening and counseling, and paid $2,750 in fines, not including court and jail costs of up to $200 per day.
Tucker married long term girlfriend, Tracey Tucker. They share three children, King, Zoe and Aaliyah.
Tucker is a self-proclaimed "sneakerhead" and owns hundreds of pairs of sneakers, stored in several locations across the country. On August 22, 2016, SLAM Magazine named Tucker the solidified number 1 sneakerhead in the NBA, due to not only his number of shoes, but also their quality. Some of his shoes include rare “player edition” pairs of sneakers made for former NBA players such as Shawn Marion, Michael Finley, Josh Howard, and Eddie Jones, as well as some rare “Terror Squad” pairs designed by the rapper Fat Joe.
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