Tucker on Fire in March
P.J. Tucker’s offseason work on his shot was well-documented. Suns Head Coach Jeff Hornacek repeatedly said how impressed he was by Tucker’s nearly constant presence in the practice court, where the veteran forward would hoist shot after shot. Often, it was just he and the shooting machine, which sported a protective net that forced the Suns forward to improve the arc in his shot.
The hard work showed early in the season. Tucker hit 46.5 percent of his three-pointers in the month of November, feasting on wide-open looks from the corners.
Tucker’s success, however, ran parallel to that of the rest of the team. Once the rest of the league adjusted to his and the Suns’ hot start, both parties were forced to deal with improved defensive schemes.
His shot suffered as a result. Tucker shot just above 33 percent from three and overall in December and only saw minor improvements in January and February.
March, however, has seen the 6-6 hustle man catch fire. He’s hitting an impressive 42.9 percent from deep, better than Miami's Ray Allen, Washington's Bradley Beal and Minnesota's Kevin Love.
Tucker is complimenting his outside shooting with inside efficiency. His habit of snagging rebounds and bulling his way in the paint for easy buckets is nothing new, but he wasn’t finishing at the efficient clip coaches like to see from such close shots.
March has been a different story. Tucker is converting 66 percent of his two-point attempts, including a whopping 73.7 percent in the paint. That's better than Clippers dunk machine DeAndre Jordan, Bobcats low-post pounder Al Jefferson and Memphis' Marc Gasol.
The offensive uptick has Tucker turning in a very well-rounded March (through the 23rd): 11.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 57.7 percent overall.