PJ Tucker NBA Draft Scouting Report

PJ Tucker NBA Draft Scouting Report
May 28, 2006, 02:36 pm
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-hero’s 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. He’s 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. He’s 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. He’s 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, Tucker’s are superb. He has a tireless work ethic and a winner’s mentality, which is what makes it nearly so hard to write him off despite his atypical profile.

Tucker’s size has to be considered the main one. If he was just 2-3 inches taller, he’d 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 it’s 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 isn’t out of this world in this regard, even though he is certainly no slouch. His overall quickness and first step are not what you’d expect out of an NBA shooting guard, and he might need to transform his body into more of a wing’s build than a burly college forward.

Tucker is most likely a small forward in the NBA, but doesn’t 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 doesn’t 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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