PJ Tucker believes Houston will a championship playing their current style
Contrary to what many analysts and NBA legends believe, P.J. Tucker is very confident the Houston Rockets’ style of play can win them a championship. When asked for his response to Scottie Pippen’s staunch insistence otherwise, Tucker alluded to analytics as why Houston’s oft-criticized offensive approach is good enough to win in June.
“Of course I think we can win a championship (playing this style),” he said, per Alykhan Bijani of The Athletic. “If you look at the analytics and all, the rate James and Chris play, it’s the highest points per possession in the league.”
Pippen, considered one of the best defenders of all time, believes that D’Antoni’s style is predictable and therefore will never win a championship. Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant shared the same sentiment recently, too.
The Rockets’ offense always starts off from a James Harden isolation. It ends up with either a driving layup from the former MVP, an alley-oop to Clint Capela who’s camping just outside the paint, or a kick-out 3-pointer to the likes of Tucker, Eric Gordon, Paul, or Austin Rivers.
Pippen and Tucker’s disagreement comes amid contract extension talks between the Rockets and coach Mike D’Antoni, who’s considered one of the most innovative offensive coaches in the history of basketball. The 68-year-old signed up as the Rockets’ head coach in 2016.
In his tenure, D’Antoni has led the team to the playoffs every season, including a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2018 against the Golden State Warriors. He has also helped James Harden to win his first MVP and become one of the best offensive players in league history.
No one knows for sure if D’Antoni will come back as the Rockets’ head coach. There have been mixed signals among the team’s players and analysts. But if Tucker is concerned, D’Antoni should return so they can finally win that elusive championship ring.