After the second round exit of the Philadelphia 76ers in last year’s playoffs, it was clear that more moves needed to be made for the Miami Heat to take this team to the top.
Sixers star Joel Embiid had an MVP-worthy campaign. Tyrese Maxey has spent the offseason. James Harden entered the mix at the trade deadline, giving the team a much-needed go-to scoring option to pair with Embiid, who could facilitate that. Although this seemed promising enough to go all the way, some pieces of the puzzle had to be filled in.
A busy offseason for the organization brought Philadelphia players such as former Sixth Man of the Year winner Montrez Harrell, sharpshooter Daniel House and veteran PJ Tucker. The acquisition of Tucker ties him to Harden. The two had a deadly relationship on the court with the Houston Rockets, where they played four seasons together.
The grit that Tucker provides is something every team needs. It makes you hard on defense. It can spread the floor. He even tells you the whole game. After leaving the Rockets, the veteran played a key role in the Milwaukee Bucks’ quest to win the championship in 2021 and the Miami Heat’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals as the No. 1 seed last season.
At Media Day, Embiid announced Tucker as one of the X-Factors of the Heat’s series against Philadelphia.
“Obviously, playing with PJ, if you don’t want to mention Jimmy (Butler), I thought PJ was one of the X-Factors that had a big impact on us. Darryl (Murray) obviously went out and did the job.
Harden, a former teammate of Tucker’s and of course his current teammate, believes that having the veteran on the team this year will be beneficial.
“I feel like we’ve got the right pieces that we need on both ends of the ball to make us a legitimate contender and be the ultimate team,” Harden said at Media Day.