Despite age, Clippers’ Paul Pierce knows how to be in shape


Sep 25, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul Pierce (34) and forward Blake Griffin (32) during media day at the Clipper Training Facility in Playa Vista. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers training camp is well underway, and with the bench proving themselves by beating the starters in a scrimmage and the revamped roster seemingly gelling together nicely, everything is looking as good as possible after the first two days of camp. In fact, everything has been going so well that it prompted Paul Pierce to say that the Clippers’ first practices are as good as any he’s been in during his career. Which is no small statement seeing as he’s been in the NBA for 17 years.

Aside from what we’ve learned about the Clippers during training camp already, though (you can see all our updates here), the development of Paul Pierce as a Clipper, even during these incredibly early stages, is interesting to pay attention to.

Doc Rivers’ plan to use him a lot at power forward has come into action during camp as he’s been used at the four already, which makes Pierce’s role off the bench more diverse than we may have expected when he was signed earlier this summer. What we did know for certain, though, was that he could provide the Clippers with some mental toughness and swagger, which he’s been doing already according to teammate J.J. Redick.

In addition to all that, Pierce has also talked about how he gets in NBA shape in preparation for the season, even if he’ll be 38 when the 2015-16 campaign gets underway. A lot of it comes down to his diet, as he told Rowan Kavner of

"“I think when you’re young, you’re so worried about improvement and developing. I am who I am at this point. Right now, it’s about me being in shape, being healthy. I changed my diet years ago. At this point in my career, I just know how to be ready.”"

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For an older player like Paul Pierce, who needs to be agile enough on the perimeter to defend other small forwards while maintaining good strength and conditioning to matchup against opposing power forwards at times, conditioning is vital. He’s played 35.5 minutes per game over the course of his career, including five seasons averaging 38+ minutes a night during his time with the Boston Celtics. So, after so many years of playing such a major role, Pierce has racked up more than his fare share of mileage.

At this point of his career, a healthy diet is more essential than ever; even more so because he’ll probably still be playing 20-25 minutes per game for most of this season.

On top of that, he also needs to assure that he’s in the best shape he can be for when the Clippers need him most in the playoffs. Though if he’s been on a healthier diet for years now, we don’t need to worry that a player like Pierce — providing he isn’t injured — won’t be in fighting shape come the postseason.

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