3 things that P.J. Tucker now brings to the Milwaukee Bucks

Feb 26, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA ( Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Feb 26, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA ( Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /
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HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 09: (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 09: (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks got their man in P.J. Tucker nearly a week out from this year’s trade deadline.

Milwaukee made their high-profile addition for the veteran forward, along with Rodions Kurucs, a 2021 second rounder from Houston and re-acquired their 2022 first round pick for D.J. Augustin, D.J. Wilson and the Bucks’ 2021 and 2023 second round picks.

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Having long been a player of interest for the Bucks’ front office, the Bucks are certainly banking on Tucker fortifying the Bucks in so many ways on the court, with all of that starting on the defensive end.

So without further ado, let’s run through the three key areas that Tucker will impact as the Bucks load up and integrate him within their system ahead of their eventual playoff run.

P.J. Tucker brings the Milwaukee Bucks his trademark lockdown defending.

Without question, the biggest impact that Tucker will bring to Milwaukee lies on the defensive end. More specifically, it’ll be how Tucker supercharges the Bucks’ defensive overhaul from a stylistic standpoint.

The 35-year-old has long made his bones as one of the most versatile and impactful defenders in the NBA, all of which was on display over his four-and-a-half year stay with the Rockets. As they dove in feet first into their small ball experiment at the end of the James Harden era, Tucker was the biggest reason why the Rockets veered towards such an approach and experienced success doing so.

The Bucks have increasingly taken such an approach this season, all of which came in part due to how inflexible they were built towards the end of last year and in the postseason. Tucker will certainly take things to another level, whether it’s within their drop-back scheme or playing small during crunch time.

Certainly the biggest question that surfaces as a result of the Bucks adding Tucker is how much tread he has left on the tires, so to speak. Given his age and gargantuan workload when playing such a critical role for the Rockets, it’s only fair to wonder where Tucker stands physically, especially as the Bucks are making such a big bet on him being able to hold up over the next few months.

Still, even as Tucker’s athleticism declines, affecting his ability to credibly switch on opposing ball handlers as he regularly did with the Rockets, he still will be necessary when the Bucks are inevitably matched up with the likes of Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons, at minimum. Having a valuable wing defender like Tucker on such assignments will only ease the pressure that the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton to be able create offense at a high level.

Time will tell just how Tucker will be able to make a difference defensively, but his experience, high IQ and attributes are all worth betting on just as the Bucks just did.