3 players making waves at Sixers training camp

Sixers training camp (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Sixers training camp (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Sixers standouts at training camp: P.J. Tucker

"“You start now. Little tweaks, little breakdowns, it’s gonna happen obviously. New guys, figuring out, having the personnel, these are the days right now where you talk it through, you make mistakes here, and you fix it the next time, and you keep building, building, and building. There’s so many times you get into situations where you don’t know and guys won’t talk. You may give up some buckets now, but it helps out later on.” — P.J. Tucker (via Ky Carlin/SixersWire)"

P.J. Tucker has been praised for his leadership qualities and toughness for years. Now, the Sixers are experiencing it first hand. Doc Rivers said Tucker was the best defender at the first day of camp, setting the tone with his physicality and communication.

The Sixers’ lack of backbone in the face of adversity tanked them in the playoffs — against Tucker’s Miami Heat. Tucker has already emerged as a key voice in his new locker room. Tucker talks a lot, and he brings a decade of corporate knowledge and contending experience to Philadelphia’s starting five. He will meaningfully elevate the Sixers’ defense, both with his individual prowess and with his ability to direct teammates.

The Sixers paid a premium price for Tucker’s veteran presence. He is 37 years old and is locked up through his age-40 season. That kind of investment was never solely about Tucker’s skill set (though he will certainly help Philly on the court). It was just as much about toughness, spirit, and wisdom.

No player has been more glowingly talked about, by Rivers or by teammates, than Tucker. The Sixers have long lacked natural leaders in the locker room. Joel Embiid and James Harden are great, but they’re not natural-born leaders of men. Tyrese Maxey could one day reach that status, but he’s 21 years old. Tucker has already established a strong voice with his new team, and it’s clear he is willing to call out those who need calling out. That’s a good trait to have in your locker room.