Doc Rivers Issues Strong Statement on P.J. Tucker Ahead of Crucial Sixers Stretch

P.J. Tucker

Getty P.J. Tucker of the Philadelphia 76ers

Among those who fully support the Philadelphia 76ers‘ prized offseason addition, P.J. Tucker, is head coach Doc Rivers, who believe veterans like Tucker are exactly what they will need to win crucial games.

Before the Sixers’ victory over the Miami Heat on March 1, Rivers explained why Tucker stands out in bigger games.

“I do think there is something to that,” River said, per Ky Carlin of SixersWire. “I think they’re bigger games, and that’s why you have PJ. He’s tough. The good teams are all tough. The good teams are serious, they’re physical, they play hard, they execute, and PJ is great in those games, so I do think there’s something to that.”

Rivers then explained that Tucker’s ability to communicate on both ends of the floor helps the Sixers immensely.

“Teams that talk, man, it’s just so important defensively,” Rivers added. “It just eliminates all mistakes. You don’t have switching mistakes, you don’t have transition D mistakes when guys are hitting 3s, and that’s where as a team, we have to grow.”

Tucker’s scoring numbers aren’t too impressive this year for someone who has started all but one game this season – 3.5 points a game – Tucker is shooting 40.2 percent from three. Even if he’s not scoring much, Rivers clearly trusts Tucker as a part of the rotation.

Tucker Opens Up About New Injury

Tucker had to leave the Sixers’ game against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 4 due to back spasms. The Sixers won the game without him and Tobias Harris anyway, but Tucker went into more detail regarding his injury after the game.

“I’ve been fighting back spasms the last two days, and today (Saturday) just went crazy,” Tucker said, per Carlin. “I couldn’t run. I couldn’t jump. So I just went to the back, try to get it better. I couldn’t get better.”

Tucker missed the following Sixers game against the Indiana Pacers on March 6 but managed to play on the back end of their back-to-back on March 7 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Though Tucker was ready to go, there’s no telling if this will be an issue going forward.

Tucker Admits Sixers Were Not His First Choice in Free Agency

While talking with The Miami Herald, Tucker admitted that he wanted to stay with his previous team, the Heat.

“Honestly, I didn’t want to leave,” Tucker said. “I expressed that I didn’t want to leave. But their situation and them not wanting to be hard-capped, I knew it was going to be a possibility. My family is still there. So I obviously wanted to be there, but it didn’t work out. … I thought I was going to retire in Miami.”

Tucker then explained that he believed he got what he deserved, which is not what the Heat were willing to offer.

“I wanted the full midlevel,” Tucker said. “I thought I deserved the full midlevel, and that was something that I wanted. They knew that coming out of the gate. I expressed that I wanted that from the beginning. I feel like for what we did, for what we had, I feel like I deserved that, and it just is what it is.

“I think they wanted the negotiations to be a little slower than it was,” he added. “Just because of the interest right off the bat. Nobody thought I was going to get three years and then to get multiple offers for a full three years, I was ready to move and figure it out.”