Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Paul Pierce Wants More Consistency with Playing Time

Paul Pierce has been off to a very rocky start this season and he has played especially poor these past two games. He's averaging a career-low 12.6 points per game on a career-low 40.6%. In the last two games that he's played, he has shot just 1 for 15. So what is the reason for struggles? Is he still adjusting to this new team?

According to Nets beat writer Tim Bontemps, it has become an issue of playing time inconsistency.
When you look at his game logs, he's given more minutes when he plays well, and his minutes drop significantly when he plays poorly. In the last five games in which he's shot under 40%, his minutes per game goes as follows (in reverse chronological order): 17, 15 (ejected from game), 26, 22, 14.

In the last five games in which Paul Pierce is shooting over 40%, the minutes goes as follows (also in reverse chronological order): 43, 35, 30, 28, 31.

His playing time fluctuates a lot less when he's producing and varies much more when he's not. It's not fair for him to blame his inconsistency on the inconsistency of his minutes. If he plays well, he'll get more minutes. When he doesn't, he'll be replaced. This is without Andrei Kirilenko in the rotation. Once he comes back, the numbers may become more unpredictable.  It's up to him to produce, and in turn he'll receive consistent minutes.

His inconsistency may have to do with him trying to recover from his hand injury. After the game, Paul Pierce also said that his hand has still not fully recovered.
While most of the Nets team is battle injuries, it would unreasonable to say that his injury is causing his poor play. He's been playing very inconsistency even before that and also had two relatively stellar performances coming back from hand injury. In the end, its about dealing with adversity, which Pierce called the Nets out for not being able to handle after the Christmas day blowout loss to Chicago Bulls.
It is a bit ironic coming from Pierce, who complained about his minutes the same day. There are a lot of obstacles for the Nets to overcome, as a team and for each individual. Paul Pierce is no exception.

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