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|Team: Suns College Team:
H: 6' 5"|
W: 225 lbs
(28 Years Old)
|Agent: Andre Buck |
High School: Enloe
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Pick 35 in 2006 by Raptors
Best Case: Bonzi Wells
Worst Case: Andre Emmett
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|PJ Tucker NBA Draft Scouting Report|
May 28, 2006
If you can get past the fact that he is at least 2-3 inches undersized, Tucker has very good physical attributes. Unlike most players, though, he uses his to the fullest extent at all times. Tucker has an NBA ready frame and a super-heroís build, with very soft and strong hands, great upper and lower body strength, and a superb wingspan. He has a powerful first step and very solid ability to get off the ground and finish strong at the basket.
Tucker is essentially the prototype for what most coaches look for in a player. He is fundamentally sound, tough as nails, and incredibly hard-working; always giving everything he has out on the floor, showing superb confidence in himself, but usually playing strictly up to his strengths.
Offensively, Tucker does most of his damage from 18 feet and in. He started his college career out as a post player, and will still go back to this part of his game if the matchup is right for him, which was often considering how much of a mismatch he was at the college level. His footwork is outstanding and both his jump-hook and turn-around jump-shot are very polished. Heís got great touch and feel around the hoop and will go up and try to dunk anything within a few feet around the basket. Once he gets the ball in the paint, he is almost impossible to rattle, as he is superbly coordinated, incredibly strong and will almost never be forced off-balance.
Tucker became more of a perimeter player his junior year, and showed the ability to overpower his matchup on the way to the hoop with his tenacious first step and accurate footwork, shielding the ball from the defender with his body. Heís also an accomplished mid-range shooter, being quite reliable from 15-17 feet out, even using the glass if necessary.
Defensively, Tucker is again tough as nails, fundamentally strong and absolutely tenacious due to his outstanding motor. Heís not the most experienced perimeter defender, but will usually give his matchup hell regardless just because of the way he plays. As a rebounder is where he truly shines, going after every ball as if it was his last, and displaying superb timing and hands.
In terms of intangibles, for what GMs look for in a basketball player, Tuckerís are superb. He has a tireless work ethic and a winnerís mentality, which is what makes it nearly so hard to write him off despite his atypical profile.
Tuckerís size has to be considered the main one. If he was just 2-3 inches taller, heíd be a sure-fire top-20 pick as it would be much easier to see him becoming a real power small forward. At 6-5, he is shorter than most NBA shooting guards, but is more bit stuck between the 3 and the 4 spots when talking about his true position skill-wise. Defensively is where the biggest concerns come out, as itís unclear whether he has the experience or lateral quickness to defend the perimeter.
If Tucker were an incredibly freakish athlete he would likely make up this to a certain extent, but he really isnít out of this world in this regard, even though he is certainly no slouch. His overall quickness and first step are not what youíd expect out of an NBA shooting guard, and he might need to transform his body into more of a wingís build than a burly college forward.
Tucker is most likely a small forward in the NBA, but doesnít have the same type of range on his jump-shot that most small forwards do. He never really attempted to shoot from behind the collegiate 3-point line, let alone the NBA 3-point line, not with his feet set and certainly not off the dribble.
As a ball-handler, Tucker has improved but still has a ways to go in this area. He exposes the ball excessively at times when trying to get by a smaller guard on the perimeter, and will at times dribble it high and out of control driving into a brick wall. Tucker has the mid-range jumper down, but he doesnít do much in terms of creating shots for himself and pulling up off the dribble from mid-range.
Tucker was an impact college player from day one at one of the top programs in America, despite not being considered a top 100 recruit in high school by most services. As a freshman he averaged 10 points and 7 rebounds per game on a pretty stacked team. As a sophomore, he was having a terrific year before becoming ineligible mid-season due to academic problems. He finished the year averaging 14 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists in 29 minutes in just 17 games. As a junior, he was the best player on one of the best teams in the country, averaging 16 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game. Tucker was named Big 12 player of the year and helped his team make the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Tucker is in the draft for good after hiring the services of agent Leon Rose. His stock is all over the board at this point, with some considering him a mid-late 1st round pick and others having him ranked in the early-mid 2nd round. Workouts will likely determine how high he ends up going in the draft, as well as the Orlando pre-draft camp if he decides to attend.
First name is Anthony. P.J. stands for Pop Junior
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NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (Elite Eight, Saturday Games)
March 26, 2006
After a marvelous season winning the Big 12 player of the year award and being the most consistent player for Texas all season, Tucker struggled a bit on the offensive end against LSU and is now on his way back to Austin. He hit a couple shots from 15 feet out, but his usual post up shots and layup attempts near the basket just werenít falling for him consistently. Tucker did make his second three pointer of the season late in the game, and was a beast on the boards as usual. He also displayed some very nice passing ability throughout the game, and finished with 6 assists. The transition Tucker has made from being a post player to a fulltime wing has gone very smoothly thus far, and he has the tools to be a power 3 in the NBA. All early indications now point to PJ entering the NBA draft to see where he stands in the eyes of the league. To best help his draft stock and work his way into the first round, Tucker will have to display the ability to hit his perimeter shot with consistency, as well the potential to defend the type of quicker wing players we usually find on the perimeter in the NBA.
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NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (Sweet Sixteen, Thursday games)
March 24, 2006
Tucker used every single one of his skills on the basketball court to help Texas past West Virginia tonight. Though he scored 9 of his 15 points within the first 10 minutes of the game, he used his rebounding, passing, and defensive abilities along with hustle to contribute in the other minutes he was on the floor. He started the game moving well off the ball, and made 2 easy layups on cuts to the basket. As weíve been writing all season, Tucker has made many strides with his ball-handling abilities, and he continued to show these improvements tonight. Tucker helped the Longhorns the most tonight with his great rebounding abilities, and collected a key offensive rebound over Kevin Pittsnogle in the final minute of the game.
The one area Tucker could really improve is his defense against smaller and quicker players. He had some trouble staying in front of his shooting guard sized matchups at times tonight, which led to some fouls that could have been avoided. He can best improve in this area by using his length to better aid him in playing defense, because he canít use his power against quickness on the defensive side of the ball as much as he would in the post. Though Tucker had a good game, itís gotten to the point that this is what is expected of him now, and what heís been doing all season long consistently. It will be interesting to see how the last games of the NCAA tournament play out for P.J. Tucker before he enters his name in the draft.
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NCAA Tournament: NBA Draft Stock Watch (round of 32, Sunday games)
March 20, 2006
PJ Tucker played with the effort and focus he has all season for the Longhorns against NC State, and it led to yet another win. He attacked the hoop very aggressively, and used his incredibly long arms to get the ball in the basket over much taller defenders. In addition to that, Tucker displayed his much improved handle, and dribbled his way out of double teams on a few different occasions. On defense, Tucker moved his feet very well, and was always timely with his rotations to the hoop while helping out his teammates.
Throughout the season, Tucker has been the first option and the most consistent player on Texas. He has expanded his perimeter game, and is starting to look more and more like a power 3, rather than a power forward trying to play the small forward position. Many people remain skeptical about how his game will translate to the NBA, but he continues to show more of a perimeter game each time he steps on the court.
For players like Tucker there is nothing better that can be done to improve their stock by putting up outstanding numbers on a consistent basis and leading his team to success. With each round he advances, his exposure to top-level NBA executives increases and his fans in those ranks multiply. Traditional scouts might find a tough time projecting him to a certain position or role because of his size and non-existent 3-point shot, but youíd be hard pressed to find a coach who doesnít love his style of play. They often have just as much influence if not more in NBA war rooms on draft night anyway.
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