P.J. Tucker, one of the most hard-working and versatile defenders in the NBA, added to his career-long streak of having never appeared on a league All-Defense team when he finished fifth among forwards in voting this year.
Finishing in front of Tucker in voting among forwards were Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Bam Adebayo and Kawhi Leonard, all of whom were excellent in their own rights on that end. The Houston Rockets’ big man was asked about being “snubbed” again and showed that he’s trying to make peace with what the media believes about his place in the hierarchy of NBA defenders versus how the Rockets feel about his value.
His body of work, he said, speaks for itself, and as long as those that make roster decisions and sign his paychecks know how good he is on that end, that’s what matters.
P.J. Tucker on All-Defense snub:
It is what it is. My body of work speaks for itself. I don’t need anybody in the media to tell me I’m a good defensive player. I’m cool. As long as Tillman Fertitta and Daryl Morey see it, I’m ok.
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) September 9, 2020
Houston is, of course, the team that outbid Toronto and other suitors for Tucker in free agency three years ago and rebuilt their team this trade deadline around his ability to hold up as a small-ball center. They maximized his talents as a spot-up corner three-point shooter, rebounder, and all-around defender en route to three straight seasons of contention in the Western Conference.
There’s no need for Tucker to see his value through the lens of this one award, but it would probably feel pretty good to be recognized.