Rockets’ PJ Tucker raves about Russell Westbrook’s leadership
PJ Tucker has played merely a few preseason minutes next to new star Russell Westbrook, but he’s already noticed the positives about his addition to the Houston Rockets. To no surprise, Westbrook has been plenty vocal since joining longtime friend James Harden, something the veteran defensive ace has taken a liking to:
“He’s so vocal,” said Tucker of Westbrook, according to Salman Ali of ClutchPoints. “And I think it helps a lot because we have a lot of guys who aren’t. So it’s good to have another leader.”
The Rockets are 3-1 in preseason after getting back from Japan after a back-to-back affair with the defending champion Toronto Raptors. The team has also dealt with a firestorm stemming from the pro-Hong Kong comments from their general manager Daryl Morey, which hasn’t been easy to dodge for the last two weeks.
While team owner Tilman Fertitta, Adam Silver, Morey, and Harden have issued apologies in the past. Tucker isn’t considering this a distraction, despite losing their Chinese sponsors, their TV broadcasting rights in China, and a recent PR snafu in Japan that saw the NBA shame the Rockets and apologize for their lack of judgement.
“This time of the season everybody’s getting in shape, getting ready for the season, focusing in. There are things that go on in life,” said Tucker. “This is still our job.”
Houston can make some waves in a wide-open, but heavily-contested Western Conference, boasting a veteran-heavy team with playoff experience and the right tools to make a dent in the playoffs.
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