P.J. Tucker has plenty on his plate as the Rockets look to slow LeBron James and the Lakers in the second round. And with Houston now facing a 2–1 series deficit, Tucker has far greater worries than end-of-season honors.
Tucker downplayed missing out on the All-Defense teams on Wednesday. The NBA's resident iron man laughed when asked about the omission, adding, "my body of work speaks for itself."
"I don't need anybody in the media to tell me I'm a good defensive player," Tucker said. "As long as Tilman Fertitta and Daryl Morey know, that's all that matters to me."
The nine-year veteran wasn't exactly ignored by the awards voters. Tucker received 29 votes for second-team All-Defense, the most of any forward not on the team. And while it may not be reflected on Tucker's trophy case, he certainly has the respect of his peers across the league. Tucker is an absolute brick wall in the lane, allowing the Rockets to survive with the most radical small-ball experiment in the game's history. The last three seasons with Tucker have marked some of the franchise's greatest heights.
There's good reason for Tucker to care about the approval from Houston's owner and general manager. 2020-21 will mark the final year of Tucker's contract with Houston, and while it's hard to imagine the current Rockets without him, Tucker will turn 36 in May 2021. Perhaps Morey will look to turn the page after next season if he is still in charge. Predicting the Rockets' current series is difficult. Projecting their distant future is near impossible.
Tucker and the Rockets will look to even their series with the Lakers in Game 4 on Thursday night. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. CT.