What Paul Pierce is experiencing this year with the Brooklyn Nets is definitely not what he envisioned. However, the Nets have been the NBA’s biggest disappointment thus far this season with a 9-16 record following Wednesday night’s defeat against the Washington Wizards. Changes have needed to be made.
Through the first 15 games he started this year Pierce shot 36.8 percent from the field while averaging 12.4 points per game, both career worsts. Then on November 29th at the Houston Rockets, Pierce broke his hand. The Nets record at the time was a dismal 6-14. Needless to say, this season was off to a nightmarish start for Pierce and the Nets.
Since coming back from his broken hand Pierce has been coming off the bench for the Nets. Rookie Head Coach Jason Kidd knew he had to make adjustments.
This is a drastic change to the starting lineup that no one had envisioned prior to the season. It was supposed to be a lineup filled with star studded players Deron Williams and Joe Johnson at the guard positions, Brook Lopez manning the center position and Kevin Garnett and Pierce as the forwards. Now the Nets have replaced Pierce in the lineup with Alan Anderson as the shooting guard and slid Johnson to the small forward position.
The lineup change could be due to many reasons but it seems as though it is working well for the Nets and for Pierce. In the five games since Pierce’s return from his injury the Nets are 3-2 and seem to be playing much better. Pierce, whose minutes as a whole have not seen a dramatic hit, has done an excellent job as a facilitator off the bench. Against the Wizards, Pierce shot 10-12 from the field and finished with 27 points, easily his best performance of the season.
It will be interesting to see what coach Kidd will do once versatile forward Andrei Kirilenko and former Sixth Man of the Year Jason Terry return to the Nets lineup. Will Terry or Kirilenko possibly supplant Anderson in the starting lineup? Will Pierce be reinserted to the starting five?
It has been a season of major changes for Pierce. A Finals MVP in 2008, he made himself into a future Hall of Famer while being the starting small forward for 15 seasons with the Boston Celtics. This offseason he was sent to Brooklyn with Garnett and Terry. For the first time in his career Pierce would no longer don the green and white jersey of the Celtics. Now, it seems as though the veteran could be coming off the bench for the first time as well.
If there is one thing you can bet on it’s that Pierce will try to make the most of this change as long as it turns the Nets' season around. He’s been in the league for a long time and just wants to win as much as he can while still playing.
The Truth simply cares too much to keep losing, even if he’s in unfamiliar territory.
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