Tag: Paul Pierce

Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce reacts to a call by the officials in Boston

Doc Rivers says Paul Pierce chose Clippers over Celtics this summer


Paul Pierce will chase one more ring this season with Clippers, ending his career near where he grew up, near the playgrounds and gyms where he learned the game. He brings Los Angeles a guy who knows what it’s like to climb the mountain, a guy who can play some stretch four, and a guy fearless in the big moments. The Clippers need all of that.

But he almost chose the Celtics over the Clippers.

That according to Doc Rivers, speaking to Jay King of MassLive.com.

“I think he wanted to go one of two places,” said Rivers. Standing inside the TD Garden, the Clippers head coach continued, “He wanted to come back here or he wanted to finish his career at home where he grew up, and I think it’s really cool for me that I can be a part of that.”

I’m not sure how seriously the Celtics were considered, but Pierce was thinking of how to cap off his Hall of Fame legacy. He will be remembered as a Celtic, that is where he spent the first 15 years of his career, that’s where he won a ring. He may come back and play some role in the organization someday. It’s easy to see the allure of that.

But the Celtics will be fighting for a playoff spot near the bottom of the East as they (hopefully) take the next steps in their rebuilding. The Clippers are a team with a legitimate chance to come out of the West and contend for a title.

I think he made the best decision for him. It doesn’t make him any less a Celtic.

Erik Spoelstra: Heat’s starting lineup needs time before it’ll succeed

Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons

Who has the NBA’s best starting lineup?

The Warriors (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut)?

The Cavaliers (Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov)?

The Spurs (Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan)?

The Clippers (Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan)?

Take your pick between those four or other contenders like the Thunder, Rockets or Bulls.

But there’s one team that belongs in the discussion despite two oddities:

  • All five projected starters played for the team last season, but its projected starting lineup didn’t log a single minute together.
  • The team missed the playoffs.

Yup, the Heat with Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside.

Bosh was sidelined for the rest of the season with blood clots just after Miami traded for Dragic. So, the lineup’s debut was postponed to this season.

On paper, the Heat have it all – offense and defense inside and out. They’re balanced, and nobody is playing out of position.

But Miami coach Erik Spoelstra cautions against expecting instant gratification.

Spoelstra, via Zach Lowe of Grantland:

“It’s not the kind of lineup where you can just throw it out there, and you know it will work,” Spoelstra says. “It’s going to take practice.”

The biggest question with the Heat’s top lineup is health, especially Wade. He’s 33 and has a history of knee problems. There are also questions about Whiteside’s ability to perform over a full season, Bosh’s rust and Deng’s longevity.

But those are all individual concerns.

Like I said, there’s a lot to like about this unit as a whole. The one area for caution is probably Dragic and Wade sharing ball-handling duties. Though they play different positions – Dragic point guard and Wade shooting guard – both are used to being the lead guard. That could take more time to sort out.

Mostly, though, I think Spoelstra is just trying to lower expectations. The less people think of a team, the more opportunity the coach has to impress (and the less blame he’ll take if the team falters).

Report: Clippers, Glen Davis still talking about potential deal

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game Two

The Clippers have an improved front line rotation. Of course Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will start (and get the most minutes), but now behind them will come Josh Smith and Cole Aldrich. Brenden Dawson is in the mix. Plus, Paul Pierce can play some four (and Griffin some five) if the Clippers want to go small and run even more. Doc Rivers has options.

Does Rivers need Glen Davis, too?

Big Baby has been mulling playing overseas, but his people and the Clippers are still talking, reports Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

The Clippers have 14 guaranteed contracts on the books (Dallas has a full 15, they would be offering a partially guaranteed deal as they did JaVale McGee). Many teams leave the 15th slot open, allowing them flexibility in trades and signings as the season goes forward.

Do the Clippers need one more big at the end of the bench more than that flexibility? Davis averaged 12.2 minutes a game last season, and that would drop to spot duty this season — Davis would be at the end of the bench and out of the regular rotation. That’s where he lands on most rosters at this point in his career — he’s the “break glass in case of emergency” big.

But for now, Doc and the Clippers are still thinking about it.

Wizards’ Otto Porter says he is “definitely” ready to play some stretch four

Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards - Game Six
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The Wizards went big — with Marcin Gortat and Nene up front — and stayed that way most of the NBA season. Then come the playoffs, coach Randy Wittman finally broke out a small ball lineup with Paul Pierce at the four for long stretches, and it got the Wizards to the second round.

Pierce is now a Clipper, but the playoffs saw the emergence of Otto Porter as his ready replacement — he averaged 10 points a game, shot 37 percent from three and was making plays.

Is Porter ready to step into Pierce’s role as a stretch four? “Definitely,” he told Tom Byrne and Vinny Del Negro on SiriusXM NBA Radio.

“Definitely, because that’s who the NBA is transitioning, you know, to smaller lineups. So being able to stretch out as a four is going to be key, and that is something with our coaching we might end up doing. It’s definitely something I’ll be comfortable with.”

He better be, it will be one of the keys to Washington’s season. The Wizards are going to start games big still, but there will be more small ball with Porter and just signed Jared Dudley at the four. Wittman is not going to sit on this lineup all season.

Elsewhere in the interview, Washington entering the season with high expectations. They believe they are a team ready to challenge Cleveland atop the conference. 

Porter also said John Wall and Bradley Beal are the best backcourt in NBA. What else was he going to say? It is certainly near the top, although that duo out in Golden State has some hardware that backs up their case nicely. 

Martell Webster as stretch four? Wizards may try it next season.

Washington Wizards v Cleveland Cavaliers
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When the Washington Wizards tip-off next season, they will have Marcin Gortat at center and Nene at power forward.

But their moves this summer show that when one of those two sits (specifically Nene) the Wizards will embrace going small, as they did last playoffs when they blistered the Raptors in the first round. (Small-ball was less effective against the Hawks.) Washington let Kevin Seraphin walk to the Knicks this summer and replaced him with guys like Jared Dudley, a stretch four. (Paul Pierce left, but it was Otto Porter’s time.)

What about Martell Webster?

He may play some stretch four, too. But he is going to have to earn those minutes, notes J. Michael at CSNmidatlantic.com.

Webster played some (at the four) when he began his career with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Wizards have floated the  possibility of using him there when — if? — he can work his way back onto the court.

The challenge, of course, will be cracking the rotation that already has Drew Gooden, Jared Dudley and Alan Anderson expecting to log a majority of the time there behind Nene when the Wizards go to small-ball lineups.  Webster, who is 6-7, played in just 32 games last season which was his least since the 2008-09 season. It also was the first time since then that Webster didn’t log a start.

The challenge for Webster — and the Wizards as a whole — going small is on the defensive end. As Matt Moore pointed out in an interesting piece at CBSSports.com, the Wizards three-point shooting and offense was much better when they went small, but the Hawks defense neutralized that somewhat. Worse yet the small ball Wizards simply tried to outscore teams, their defense suffered. That can sometimes work, against certain lineups, but it is not a long-term solution. Look at it this way, the Warriors are champions because they can go small without sacrificing defensively (thanks to Draymond Green — that’s why he’s getting paid more than you, Tristan). That is hard to replicate.

Webster is going to have to stay healthy then actually knock down threes to see the court as a stretch four — you don’t help space the floor if nobody respects you from three.

But as the Wizards go small more often — at least we expect Randy Wittman to go small more — Webster will get a chance to prove he has a role with the team, and in a small-ball NBA.