Brooklyn Nets: How Paul Pierce Has Improved His Game

Correct me if I’m wrong, but you would think that after 15 years, 10 All-Star Games and a NBA Finals MVP, you would have a hard time improving your game, right? Well, Paul Pierce of the Brooklyn Nets–“The Truth”–defies that logic.

Over the course of his 15-year NBA career, the former Kansas Jayhawk has developed a stellar reputation as an offensive guru.  When you’re averaging 21.8 points per game over a span of 1,102 contests, you are doing something right. At times Pierce can score at will. His size allows him to take you to the basket if needed. He has a great jump shot, and his 37 percent career 3-point shooting proves he can beat you downtown. You would think after 17,630 field goal attempts Pierce would start to slow down, right?

Well, sort of. His offensive game has been steady over the years. Over the last six seasons Pierce has averaged between 18.3 and 20.5 points per game. Not a lot of variation from year to year, so you pretty much know what you’re going to get.  So how has Pierce gotten better? The little things. Take a look:

Season Age Tm ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% USG%
2007-08* 30 BOS 2.3 14.0 8.5 21.8 24.8
2008-09* 31 BOS 2.4 15.4 9.2 16.3 25.4
2009-10* 32 BOS 2.0 13.4 7.9 15.1 23.8
2010-11* 33 BOS 1.6 16.6 9.5 16.1 24.0
2011-12* 34 BOS 2.2 15.2 9.0 24.3 28.1
2012-13 35 BOS 2.1 19.7 11.2 25.1 27.4
Career 2.9 16.2 9.7 19.7 27.8
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/3/2013.

Pierce’s game has evolved. Slowly he has bettered his passing and rebounding skills. At the tender age of 35, The Truth set career highs in rebounding and assist percentage.Will this trend continue in Brooklyn?

It will be interesting to see how his numbers change at a Net. I see a dip in his points per game–not because of his age but rather because of the talent on the Nets roster. I don’t see anyone on the Nets averaging more than 20 a game this year. I see Kevin Garnett, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez  and Pierce all averaging 13 to 17 points per game. With Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko set to come off the bench, Pierce might be working with his most talented team yet.

It is hard for me to predict a stat line for Pierce. I listed earlier all the talent on that roster, and I have no idea what rookie head coach Jason Kidd‘s rotation will look like. If I had to estimate, I would say Pierce averages 17/5/5. Only once in his career has Pierce averaged more than five rebounds and assists in the same season. With the help of a strong supporting cast, I see that happening again.

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