Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pierce Seems Comfortable with Bench Role

Brooklyn Nets' Paul Pierce is better coming off the bench
Photo by Ray Stubblebine
Since returning from a broken hand, Paul Pierce has come off of the bench for the Brooklyn Nets, who have gone 3-2 – not terrific, but certainly and improvement over the team's prior record of 6-14.

In five games back, Pierce has looked enormously better. He's shooting 52.6% from the field, including 50% from three point range, and has averaged 13.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists. Compare that to his stats from his games as a starter this season, where's he's scored 12.4 points per game on horrendous 36.7% shooting, including three point shooting at 26.8%, and it's clear that Pierce has been significantly more effective off the bench for Brooklyn.

In case you missed it, I discussed why I think Paul Pierce should keep his sixth man role right here on Nets Take Over last weekend.

Pierce spoke to ESPN New York's Mike Mazzeo after last night's game against the Washington Wizards after the forward posted a terrific line: 27 points on 10-for-12 shooting, including 3-of-5 from behind the arc, to go along with six rebounds, three assists, a block and just two turnovers. He also played 35 minutes, third highest on the team that night. Pierce discussed his current role coming off of the bench:
I have adjusted. I have been a starter my whole career and I am making adjustments as a player coming off the bench. You have to watch the game, help the guys on the sideline, you get a chance to see and understand what is going on out there instead of starting out the game. It definitely is a mental adjustment and I think I am making that adjustment and figuring it all out with that role on the bench."
Pierce's improvements surely have not gone unnoticed by the Nets' coaching staff – head coach Jason Kidd stated that he "will talk to my coaches and talk to him [Pierce] about a couple of different ideas" regarding Pierce's new role.

Furthermore, Deron Williams seemed to suggest that it was "kinda" Pierce's idea in the first place to come off of the bench.

Nets players and coaches haven't truly committed firmly one way or another on whether or not Pierce will continue his bench role, but all signs point to him continuing as the sixth man for the foreseeable future. What do you think? Should Pierce continue as the sixth man or return to the starting five? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.
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