Paul Pierce has been the man for the Boston Celtics for the majority of his career, and was forced to become the team's primary scorer and perimeter defender during his final season in Boston due to Rajon Rondo's injury. It was a lot to handle for the 35-year-old vet, and his play, as well as the team's, suffered.
As a result, the Celtics were knocked out of the NBA Playoffs in the second round by the New York Knicks, and GM Danny Ainge decided it was a sign that the team needed to be rebuilt. Ainge shipped Pierce, KG and Jason Terry to Brooklyn in exchange for expiring contracts, draft picks and Gerald Wallace.
Unlike Boston, Brooklyn doesn't have any issues with depth, or, evidently, paying a huge luxury tax, so Pierce will be adapting to a new, less-defined role.
From the Boston Globe.
Here we have so many options. We have young All-Stars on this team. My job is to be more of a glorified role player, as Doc [Rivers] used to always say, with the guys we have.
“With my abilities to do so many things, there’s going to be nights where I’m not going to score a bunch of points. I can do other things to help this club win. With the combination of these guys, we’re going to take pressure off each other.”
Pierce seems especially relieved that his services as the shut-down defender on a squad are no longer as necessary.
“That move was such a big move for our team, for me,” Pierce said. “When you sign a guy like Andrei Kirilenko, it solidifies your perimeter, it gives you the versatility that you need. We have guys that can shoot the three, we’ve got guys that can post up, and to have an elite defender who can guard two, three, maybe four positions — he really gives us great versatility, and I think that’s what you need. That’s the direction you really see the NBA going, to have versatile players who can play multiple positions, and you put your best player on the floor.”
Despite the lowered individual expectations, the veterans from Boston still expect to win. This time, the heavy lifting will be done by other players, while the former Celtics do their work behind the scenes and by covering for Brooklyn's weaknesses.
“I’m not here to say the three of us are here to save the Nets or anything like that," said Garnett. "We’re obviously here as a support system to Deron. It’s him and Brook’s team, along with Joe. And we’re parts that are going to help this team move forward and we’re here to assist them.”
The Nets have a strong core of veterans, albeit a bunch without much real winning experience. The grand experiment here will be getting a bunch of All-Stars together on the same page. Having leaders like Pierce and KG will go a long way, especially with the voice of another proven winner, Jason Kidd.