Philadelphia 76ers: Waiving Rayjon Tucker is woefully predictable

The 2020-21 Delaware Blue Coats were something special.

Sporting the (G)league MVP, a savvy head coach, and a savvy combo guard leading the team in points per game, the Blue Coats finished out the regular season with a 10-5 record before finding new life in the playoffs with a pair of blowout victories over the Lil Spurs and Raptorettes.

Granted, the team did lose in the championship bout against the Lakeland Magic, but excitement was at an all-time high when we had a bit of a reunion of sorts in the Vegas Summer League, where the one-two punch of Paul Reed and Rayjon Tucker filled out a staring five alongside Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe, and Filip Petrušev.

At full strength, the team was unbeatable. They had a high-flying lead guard who finished out the summer ranked second league-wide in points per game at 26, a sharpshooting 3 point assassin, and enough defensive fortitude to keep foes well under triple-digits.

Granted, again, the team sort of fell off once Maxey left the team for pre-approved engagements, but the squad was ultimately able to close out the League on top with a win over Utah thanks to a massive performance by Jaden Springer.

But unfortunately, we won’t be seeing that unit again anytime soon, maybe ever. While Petrušev was always expected to return to Europe for another international season – he recently signed a deal with Dario Saric’s former squad, the Anadolu Efes – another member of the team’s core has fallen by the wayside, with Tucker being unceremoniously waived by the Philadelphia 76ers two weeks after signing another two-way contract to make way for Grant Riller, the 56th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Does losing Rayjon Tucker stink? From a fan’s perspective, most definitely, but unfortunately, it was bound to happen eventually. With Jaden Springer, Tyrese Maxey, and Matisse Thybulle in place, there just wasn’t a spot on the team for Tuck long-term.

Rayjon Tucker’s time with the Philadelphia 76ers was never meant to last.

A well-composed NBA roster is like a perfectly planned out meal.

Sure, you need your main courses, your chickens/Joel Embiids, your mashed potatoes/Tobias Harrises, and even your hotly contested sweet potatoes/Ben Simmonses, but you also need butter, gravy, mushrooms, and parsley to really glue a dish together and put it over the top.

If you swap out parsley for cilantro, it might still be good, but to some, too much cilantro can taste like soap.

Why, you may ask, am I beating this metaphor to death? Well, because Rayjon Tucker falls into the cilantro category of the Sixers’ roster; a category they already have fairly well represented with similarly talented players.

Don’t believe me? Well, allow me to break it down for you. Measuring in at 6-foot-3, 209 pounds, Tucker is a defensive-minded, athletic combo guard who isn’t a particularly good facilitator, an even worse outside shooter, and doesn’t present much in the way of developmental potential, considering he’s about to turn 24 on September 24th.

Tucker is six months younger than Matisse Thybulle, 20 months younger than Isaiah Joe, and so much older than both Tyrese Maxey and Jaden Springer that he was literally born in a different century.

Does Tucker still have room to grow as a prospect? Sure. He can always continue to work on his outside shooting, improve his defensive efforts even further, and continue to be a dunking beast around the basket, but with two new youngsters headed to the 15 man roster in time for the 2020-21 NBA season, his chances of developing into a defensive-minded role player were becoming fewer and further between with each passing Summer League performance by Springer.

While bringing Tucker back for another opportunity to ride with Paul Reed surely would have been worth the price of admission for many a fan, that only really matters if everyone’s favorite “BBaller” actually spends time back in the G-League this fall, which probably wouldn’t be wise, considering he’s literally accomplished everything a player can there save winning a chip or earning the coveted(?) G-League Championship MVP award.

If Doc Rivers is smart, he’ll actually try to work Paul into his rotation, and use the G-League as a chance to give major minutes to Springer, Charles Bassey, Grant Riller, and Aaron Henry as they attempt to develop from college prospects into legit NBA players.

At 24, Tucker no longer fits into that category either.

Is this the end of the road for Rayjon Tucker in the City of Brotherly Love and/or Delaware? Probably. While Tucker would surely be welcomed back to the Blue Coats with open arms if his market is Jordan Howard-esque, something tells me there’s a more expansive role for the  Charlotte, North Carolina native elsewhere, either on a two-way contract or a full-on NBA deal. Fingers crossed, at least.