Paul Pierce Ready to Be a ‘Glorified Role Player’ for the Brooklyn Nets

by July 22, 2013

Despite the enormous pressure and expectations that will come with playing on such a stacked team in Brooklyn, Paul Pierce feels as though he’ll be a “glorified role player” for the Nets, and that suits him just fine. Per the Boston Globe: “Now that Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are in Brooklyn, the question is whether the Nets are legitimate title contenders with their two new starters, as well as Jason Terry coming off the bench. The consensus around the league is that Pierce and Garnett do indeed have something left to offer the Nets after a difficult final season in Boston. Pierce concluded his season being exposed by New York’s Iman Shumpert, whose defense forced Pierce to over-dribble and force shots. Pierce looked old and weathered, but an NBA assistant coach said Pierce took on too much responsibility for the Celtics after Rajon Rondo was injured. Pierce was asked to play point forward, serve as the Celtics’ primary scorer, and also often defend the opposing team’s best scorer. That responsibility was too much for the 35-year-old Pierce, and Shumpert’s aggressive defense simply wore him down. Pierce may not be the player he was in 2008, when he led the Celtics to the title at age 30, but in his new role with Brooklyn, he should flourish. With Garnett, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez, double teams will be less prevalent for Pierce. He should thrive against single defenders. ‘There will definitely be less pressure on me on this ball club than there was in Boston,’ Pierce said. ‘In Boston, I was the No. 1 primary option. 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.’ As controversial as the Andrei Kirilenko move may have been, it will definitely boost Brooklyn’s defense and toughness. Kirilenko opted out of the remaining one year and $10 million of his contract to sign a three-year, $10 million deal with the Nets, who are owned by fellow Russian Mikhail Prokhorov. If Kirilenko is even close to vintage form, he gives the Nets a long, pesky defender. ‘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.'”