Sports

Harden All-NBA First Team, Tucker Left off NBA All-Defense Team

P.J. Tucker just missed out on the NBA All-Defense team.
P.J. Tucker just missed out on the NBA All-Defense team. Photo by Eric Sauceda
The NBA named its All-NBA teams this week including the All-Defense Team and the All-NBA Team. These awards are voted on by the media and represent much more substantial consideration than the All-Star team, which is voted on by fans. All-NBA teams are in fact important enough that they can affect a player's ability to earn more sizable contracts based on the league's collective bargaining agreement.

Needless to say, that makes them a pretty big deal.

James Harden received his fifth First-Team nomination and the third time in a row he has been voted to the First Team unanimously. The other unanimous First-Team selection was Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Other First-Team nods when to Steph Curry (Warriors), Paul George (Thunder) and Nikola Jokic (Nuggets).

The only disappointment came when it was revealed that Rockets forward P.J. Tucker was not named to the first or second team All-Defense Team. Tucker received one first place vote and was edged out by Draymond Green (Warriors). Both Chris Paul and James Harden also received votes, but did not qualify for inclusion on the first or second teams.

Tucker, who many would argue is the best "little" big man in the NBA, was the heart and soul of the Rockets defense and a key contributor, particularly in the playoffs. His role became magnified against teams like the Warriors, which employed strategies to minimize the effectiveness of center Clint Capela. As a result, Tucker often played the center role on the floor surrounded by four guards.

The NBA is trickling out a few of its team awards leading up the NBA Awards ceremony on June 24. Harden is a finalist for MVP along with Antetokounmpo. 
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke