Anthony Leon "P. J." Tucker Jr. (born May 5, 1985) is an American professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
High school and college
A former college basketball player for the University of Texas, Tucker attended William G. Enloe High School in Raleigh. In his three seasons at Texas, he scored 1,169 points, including a career-high 594 in the 2005-06 season. He also collected 714 rebounds and dished out 170 assists, including 107 in 2005–06. He posted 116 steals throughout his career. In that season, he was a second-team All-American and the Big 12 Player of the Year.
Beginnings and international career
Tucker was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the 35th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft and signed a two-year deal with them on July 26, 2006.
On January 5, 2007, the Raptors announced that Tucker had been sent to the Colorado 14ers of the NBA Development League. Colorado, led by head coach Joe Wolf, had been designated as Toronto's D-League affiliate for the 2006–07 season. On February 6, 2007, the Raptors recalled Tucker to the NBA. On March 6, 2007, Tucker was sent back to the 14ers.
On March 24, 2007, Tucker was waived by the Raptors in order to free a roster spot for Luke Jackson. He only played a total of 83 minutes during his only season with the Raptors. Tucker was also on the 2007 Summer League roster for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In the 2007–08 season with Hapoel Holon from Israeli Premier League, Tucker won the MVP trophy and led his team to the league title. Holon broke Maccabi Tel Aviv's fourteen-year streak as Israeli champions.
For the 2008–09 season he signed with a BC Donetsk team that was just promoted to the Ukrainian Basketball Super League. He led the team to a current third place in the league at its first appearance there, as well as become a Ukrainian SuperLeague All-Star. A season ending knee injury didn't prevent Tucker from finishing the season with the highest average of points per game in the league. On October 7, 2009, Tucker renewed his contract with Donetsk for the 2009–10 season. After the team bankrupted he returned to Israel in March 2010 and signed for Bnei HaSharon until the end of the season.
In August 2010, he signed with Aris BC for the 2010–11 season, but he was released in March 2011. In April 2011 he signed with Sutor Basket Montegranaro in Italy.
In July 2011, he signed a one-year deal with Brose Baskets Bamberg of Germany. He went on to help Brose Baskets win the 2012 championship; he also won the Finals MVP award.
Return to the NBA
During the summer of 2012, Tucker signed a contract to play for Spartak St. Petersburg of Russia. However, he soon opted out of that contract to play for the Phoenix Suns' NBA Summer League team, and on August 1, 2012, he signed with the Suns on a two-year deal, with a team option on his second year. In his first game back in the NBA, Tucker recorded 10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block in an 87–85 loss to the Golden State Warriors. On November 23, 2012, he scored a then career-high 15 points in a 111–108 overtime win over the New Orleans Hornets. Tucker made his first start for the Suns on December 31, 2012, against the Oklahoma City Thunder, as he started the majority of the Suns' games for the rest of the 2012–13 NBA season.
On February 8, 2014, Tucker recorded 16 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and 4 steals in a 122–109 win over the Golden State Warriors, becoming the first Suns player to have 15 points, 15 rebounds and 4 steals in a game since Shawn Marion in 2007. On February 25, 2014, he tied his career high with a 15-rebound effort against the Minnesota Timberwolves. On April 6, 2014, Tucker scored a career-high 22 points in a 122–115 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
On June 27, 2014, the Suns extended a qualifying offer to Tucker, thus making him a restricted free agent. On July 23, 2014, he re-signed with the Suns to a three-year, $16.5 million contract. In August 2014, he was suspended for the first three games of the 2014–15 season without pay for pleading guilty to driving while under the extreme influence in May 2014. He returned from suspension on November 4, 2014, to face the Los Angeles Lakers.
On December 31, 2015, Tucker tied his career high of 22 points in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. On January 26, 2016, he recorded a career-high eight assists in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. On March 14, he scored a career-high 23 points in a 107–104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He topped that mark on April 7, scoring 24 points in a 124–115 win over the Houston Rockets. He played in all 82 games for the Suns in 2015–16, the only player to do so.
On September 15, 2016, Tucker underwent a successful low back microdiscectomy procedure and was subsequently ruled out for six to eight weeks. He returned in time for the start of the regular season, but was assigned a bench role for the first time since the 2012–13 season. He returned to the starting line-up in late November following an injury to T. J. Warren. On November 27, 2016, he scored a season-high 21 points against the Denver Nuggets. Tucker reassumed his bench role in late December following Warren's return from injury; he continued coming off the bench for the Suns throughout the season until the All-Star break.
Return to Toronto (2017–present)
On February 23, 2017, Tucker was traded back to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Jared Sullinger, second-round draft picks in 2017 and 2018 and cash considerations. The following day, in his first game as a Raptor since 2007, Tucker had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in a 107–97 win over the Boston Celtics. On April 15, 2017, after playing 418 games over seven seasons, Tucker made his playoff debut in the Raptors' 97–83 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. The Raptors went on to defeat the Bucks in six games to move on to the second round, where they faced the Cleveland Cavaliers. There they were defeated 4–0 by the Cavaliers to bow out of the playoffs in a clean sweep. In Game 4 of the series, a 109–102 series-clinching loss, Tucker had 14 points and 12 rebounds in his first career playoff start.
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
Tucker is the son of Anthony and Aleshia Tucker. Tucker spent a portion of his childhood living in Germany while his father served in the Army.
In May 2014, Tucker was arrested for "super-extreme DUI" by Scottsdale police. As a result of his "super-extreme DUI", Tucker received a three-day jail sentence, as well as eleven days of house detention. In addition, an ignition interlock device was placed on his vehicles for eighteen months, he was placed on five-year probation, he was subject to substance abuse screening and counseling, and pay $2,750 in fines, not including court and jail costs of up to $200 per day.
Tucker is a self-proclaimed "sneakerhead" and stores hundreds of pairs of basketball shoes in at least four different locations across the country. On August 22, 2016, SLAM Magazine named Tucker as the solidified number 1 sneakerhead in the NBA, due to not only the number of shoes he had, but also the quality of some of the shoes he's had. Some of his shoes include rare brands of sneakers from former NBA players such as Shawn Marion, Michael Finley, Josh Howard, and Eddie Jones, as well as some shoes that were previously worn for Fat Joe when he was a member of the Terror Squad.