In Cleveland Cavs trade talk, the team acquired Kyle Korver, but the player they should’ve made a move for was Phoenix Suns wing P.J. Tucker.
The Cleveland Cavaliers addition of Kyle Korver was mostly met with applause from the Cavs fan base.
Take one look at what Korver can do from the beyond the arc–especially in the corner–and the idea of LeBron James tossing majestic passes Korver’s way will leave you drooling.
But if there was a realistic player for the Cavs to obtain, would Korver be your first choice?
My response? No. Give me P.J. Tucker.
Tucker, 31, is a 6-foot-6, 245-pound wing player who currently wears the orange and purple of the Phoenix Suns. The latest NBA rumors have tied Tucker to a possible trade with theNew York Knicks.
This from ESPN, by way of ProBasketballDigest.com.
“The club (Knicks) is in need of tough defenders, and Tucker has earned a reputation as a strong defender over his five-year career. This season, he ranks 22nd among 80 qualified small forwards in ESPN’s defensive RPM. That might not seem like an elite measurement, but Tucker would certainly seem to be an upgrade for a Knicks club in need of one.”
As noted, Tucker’s numbers aren’t elite. But the Suns are headed to lottery. It be interesting to watch him defend on a championship contender, such as the Cavs.
The argument for Tucker can be made by re-watching the Cavs’ Christmas Day game against the Warriors. Yes, the Cavs came back from 14-down late in the game to win, but if you’re thinking big picture, you’ve got to take a more macro focus.
Defense still wins championships, and as we’ve seen in the recent past, Korver can be neutralized–just ask Matthew Dellavedova.
The Cavs don’t need more firepower. LeBron James can potentially deliver a triple-double on any given night. Kyrie Irving was born with the clutch gene. Need someone to take the last shot. He’s your man. Kevin Love is fitting in better than ever. J.R. Smith will be back, ready to fire away. Iman Shumpert is much improved this year, shooting .377 percent from beyond the arc–up from last season’s horrid mark of .295. Tristan’s going to clea the glass and get 10-13 points a night.
To keep up with the Warriors in June, and that’s all that matters–JUNE–the Cavs have to buckle down defensively.
It’s discouraging to see the team is tied for 11th in the NBA, allowing 103.2 points per game. Last season, they were fourth, surrounding 98.4 points per contest. Cleveland was even better in the playoffs, giving up just 96.1 points per game.
Come playoff time, you’ve got to score, but you’ve got to get stops, too.
Tucker’s making $5.3 million in his final year with the Suns. Korver is making around $5.2 million. The money is basically the same.
Not sure if the Cavs called on Tucker, but if I were GM David Griffin, I certainly would’ve inquired. He may have. ESPN’S Brian Windhorst said that there few perimeter players available, which makes it even more incredible that the Cavs landed Korver.