The addition of Paul Pierce is for the playoffs, not the regular season. The Los Angeles Clippers will obviously start the future hall of famer, but watch his minute count closely, and that includes resting him as much as possible.
The last two season for Pierce (with the Nets and the Wizards) have been the kind of years you usually see from veterans reaching that stage of their careers when they can no longer play at the All-Star level they’ve gotten everyone used to. Less minutes in the regular season before cranking it up a bit in the playoffs.
For the Nets, Pierce played 28 a night during the regular season (falling by 5.4 minutes from the previous season) and then giving them 30.7 minutes a night as the Nets rolled to the conference semifinals, where they were crushed by LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
He played 26.2 minutes a night for the Wizards last season, 29.8 in the playoffs. Once again, it was enough to beat the Toronto Raptors in the first round but not go through the conference semifinals, this time losing to the Atlanta Hawks despite his late-game heroics in that series.
Paul will be great. Paul, I don’t want to overuse him. I know that. So, I don’t even know how we are going to use him yet. I want to play him at power forward a lot. What I want him to be is healthy in the playoffs. So however we can figure that out, that’s what I’m going to try to do.
Rivers obviously isn’t exposing all of his plans for Pierce, but it’ll be interesting to see how he fits in the usually fast paced basketball the Clippers play, his role on defense and whatever small ball plans Rivers has for him. But it’ll be smaller than he had with the Wizards last season, at least before the playoffs begin, when Rivers and the Clippers will lean on him a little bit more.