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Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni says PJ Tucker is ‘the key that makes it all work’ in terms of defense

mike d'antoni, pj tucker

When it comes to the Houston Rockets’ offense, superstar guard James Harden is the team’s driving force. On the other end, players and coaches all refer to small forward PJ Tucker as the engine that drives them.

Tucker is among the top one-on-one defenders in the NBA. The Rockets have one of the best defenses in the league since the All-Star break and head coach Mike D’Antoni says Tucker is “the key that makes it all work.”

“He’s the key that makes it all work,” D’Antoni told Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic. “You can put him on a big and then he can switch to a guard and he’s fine. You can put him on a guard and then switch to a big and he’s fine. We can put him in any equation and you know with what he’s doing, the opposing team has not gained an advantage. With P.J., there is no advantage.

“We give him the ability to blow things up or read the situation. He does what he needs to do. We trust him totally on the defensive end. He’s always talking, he’s always communicating with guys, and he always takes the hardest assignment. And now it looks like he’s got his juice and everything back. I don’t think there’s any doubt, I’m as comfortable with any defensive player in the league, having him as our defensive guy.”

One needs to watch Rockets games to see what type of impact PJ Tucker brings.

If you’re a box score or highlights guy, you’ll miss the tremendous effort Tucker puts in on a nightly basis on defense which helps the Rockets win more often than not.