CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Philadelphia 76ers made the big move at the beginning of free agency when they brought in PJ Tucker, stealing him away from the Miami Heat. Tucker is a proven veteran who can be counted on for constant production.
Other than the production he gives the Sixers on the floor, it’s his off-the-floor intangibles that Philadelphia will certainly reap the benefits from.
Tucker has been one who demands accountability from his teammates, and he has been leading the team on the defensive end with his communication, pushing his teammates to do so as well.
“He’s the only champion,” coach Doc Rivers said of Tucker. “He’s the only one on our team, player-wise, that has won a championship, and so, he’s actually been through the fire and he was explaining to the guys, ‘I thought I knew what winning was about until I played for the Bucks and I realized, the things that I thought were not true. You gotta sacrifice, you gotta do so many other things.’ He basically told those guys, ‘You have no idea how much you have to give’ so it’s good to hear that voice.”
The best aspect about having Tucker on the roster is he is going to demand accountability from his teammates and be sure they are ready to go every single day.
“He’s gonna demand it,” Rivers added. “The buy-in never stops. You don’t buy in today and think ‘OK, I don’t have to worry about that tomorrow,’ the buy-in never stops and you gotta keep on them about it all the time.”
The Sixers will rely on not only Tucker, but Montrezl Harrell as well. Tucker starts the communication and the leadership with the starters, but Harrell will keep it going among the reserves.
“I definitely felt like Tuck was the head of the snake with doing it with that first unit and then me coming in was just trying to pick it up from my standpoint,” Harrell explained. “I play the 5 position in that second unit, and I quarterback a lot of things. Especially, on the defensive end of the floor because I’m at that back line, I see a lot of things so, at the same time, that’s what’s gonna make us a great defensive team.”
If the Sixers want to be the great defensive team that they think they can be, they will certainly have to communicate on that end of the floor. Tucker and Harrell are making that clear to their teammates.
“We’re gonna have to talk,” Harrell said. “We can’t just go onto the floor and just expect everybody to know what guys are gonna do or expect that we’re gonna know what the other team is gonna do. They set screens, they move around the floor, they fly, so we’re gonna have to open our mouths and talk and I think that was a big emphasis to bring out for us in camp. I think that we definitely hit on those factors.”
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