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Raptors DeRozan happy to not be guarded by P.J. Tucker

Toronto Raptors shooting guard Demar DeRozan is glad his team acquired P.J. Tucker from the Suns so he doesn’t have to play against him anymore.

Speaking after the Raptors’ morning shootaround ahead of their Friday night matchup against the Celtics, DeRozen discussed his newest teammate.

“The crazy thing is, people used to always ask me who was the three toughest player that guarded me the best,” DeRozan said. “I always put P.J. in there first. It’s funny when I seen the trade yesterday. I’m glad I ain’t have to deal with that.”

DeRozan saw Tucker frequently on Dec. 29, when the Suns earned a 99-91 upset victory in Toronto. The Raptors leading scorer had 22 points on 6-of-17 shooting, including 0-of-4 from three-point range.

During his four and a half seasons with the Suns, the 31-year-old Tucker was the team’s best perimeter defender. He took on the most well-known forwards in the game, such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony, night after night during his time with the Suns.

The Raptors acquired Tucker from the Suns right at Thursday’s 1 p.m. trade deadline. In exchange, the Raptors sent two unprotected second round picks in 2017 and 2018. They also sent forward Jared Sullinger, who was immediately waived by Phoenix.

Along with Tucker, the Raptors acquired Magic forward Serge Ibaka a few days before the deadline, sending Terrence Ross and a first-round pick. Both additions are meant to help bolster the Raptors’ 16th-ranked defense.

“It helps a lot, it helps a great deal, on paper it does. Now we need to translate it over to the court. That’s going to be the next task for us,” DeRozan said.

Tucker made his debut with the Raptors on Friday.

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