Posted February 22nd, 2013 by Brian
Filed under: Basketball

Looking for something else this afternoon and stumbled on this month-old Grantland article with some extremely complimentary comments from Suns’ coach Alvin Gentry on former Longhorn PJ Tucker:

P.J. Tucker has come out of nowhere this year, stolen Michael Beasley’s minutes, and played really good defense. What is his single best defensive skill?

Determination.

That sounds like some classic coach-speak.

Yeah, it’s just determination. He decides he’s going to guard his man, and that he’s not going to let him score. I do think defense is one of those things where it’s 75 percent effort and 25 percent skill.

Really?

Oh yeah. He just brings it every night, against every single person that he plays against. Even the last two games, he’s guarded Paul Pierce and Monta Ellis, and Monta Ellis went 5-of-19, and Paul Pierce went 3-of-10. That’s two pretty good efforts from a guy no one heard of last year. [Note: Gentry nailed these shooting numbers exactly, without checking.]

When did you have an idea he might help you guys this much? Did you realize by the end of camp, or were you still wary of playing a pretty unknown guy in real games?

I saw it in training camp, but really first in the summer. The toughness he brought to our Summer League team, we thought, We may have something here. Our basketball operations guys did a great job finding a guy like him over in Europe. He’s one of those guys every coach would love to coach.

Tucker’s road to NBA success has been a long, winding one so it’s great as a Texas fan to see him having a good season and getting recognized for it.

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