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P.J. Tucker on playing for Mike D’Antoni with Rockets: ‘Nothing like it’

Rockets, P.J. Tucker, Mike D'Antoni

In a recent interview with Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker commented on what it was like to play for head coach Mike D’Antoni:

It’s nothing like it. I’ve had a couple of coaches like that in my life, Rick Barnes being one in college. Now with Mike, there’s nothing like it. He got your back no matter what, win, lose or draw. He’ll go back to the drawing board and figure it out. He never wavers or falters. Having someone who’s a stand-up guy all the time, there’s nothing like it.

Tucker’s high praise of D’Antoni comes with Houston holding water at the no. 5 spot in the Western Conference, with a 33-24 record at the All-Star break.

The Rockets have played through a number of changes to the roster composition this season, from the loss of Trevor Ariza in free agency to an early injury to Chris Paul.

However, thanks in part to the phenomenal play of James Harden, the Rockets are still in position to make a run at a top-three seed in the West.

D’Antoni head coaching tenures have raised questions about his ability to manage player personalities in the past.

He struggled to win with a new-look Knicks team that included Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire and subsequently experienced similar personnel issues with Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash as head coach of the Lakers.

But D’Antoni has found plenty of success in Houston, posting a 153-68 record in his two-plus seasons with the organization.