Clippers 2015-16 Player Preview: Paul Pierce


2014-15 Statistics

11.9 PPG,  4.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, .6 SPG, 1.3 TO, 44.7 FG percentage, 38.9 3PT percentage, 78.1 FT percentage, 15.2 PER.

Last Season

Playing on a team full of young talent ready to breakout, Paul Pierce was relied upon to be the vocal and locker room leader. Turns out he became the heart and soul as the year went along.

Although he played a career-low minutes per game, the plan was to save his legs for a run during the playoffs. Still, Pierce responded by giving up some of his isolation usage and turning into a lethal spot-up shooter.

According to, 42.5 percent of Pierce’s shots were catch-and-shoot threes, connecting on an impressive 40.5 percent. Additionally, he shot 38.9 percent overall from three, his best mark in the last four years.

Defensively, Pierce was better suited playing power forward. Lacking the quickness and foot speed he once had to defend on the perimeter, he can no longer pester the league’s high-level wings. Still, he is a useful team defender, anticipating rotations and sliding around the floor to cut off penetration and then jumping back out on his man.

Overall, his defense, usage and stat stuffing dipped, but Pierce was still a valuable cog for the Wizards. While he was no longer creating off the dribble, drawing fouls and dishing out assists, his late-game heroics were still prominently on display.

2014-15 Highlights

Pierce only scored 20-plus points five times during the regular season, with his most impressive performance coming on November 22, against the Milwaukee Bucks when he put up 25 points and 10 rebounds. However, his playoff performances were otherworldly and absolutely the highlights of his entire season.

Pierce shot a blistering 52.4 percent from three in the playoffs, making defenses pay for collapsing on penetration from John Wall and Bradley Beal.

His hot shooting was most evident during Game 3 of the conference semifinals when he banked in a jumper at the buzzer to beat the top seeded Atlanta Hawks.

Of course, the highlight doesn’t end there, as Pierce turned Wizards fans into believers with this post-game interview:

Pierce’s stellar play in the playoffs, especially in crunch-time situations are exactly what the Los Angeles Clippers need. Mentally, he never succumbs to the pressure of the moment, instead craving it.

This Summer

Paul Pierce decided to leave the Washington Wizards and sign with his hometown Clippers. The deal was reportedly via the mini-mid level exception over three years and worth $10.56 million, with the third year partially guaranteed.

2015-16 Clippers Season Preview

With Lance Stephenson set to be the Clippers’ starting small forward for their season opener, Pierce will initially be placed on the bench. He’ll likely see his minutes reduced to around 25 per game. Also, don’t be surprised if he only plays 70 or so games, sitting out a good amount of second night back-to-backs.

Second, the Clippers have enough depth to move Pierce around in the rotation, playing him at small and power forward. While I suspect head coach Doc Rivers will want him on the floor for as many minutes as possible with a majority of the starters, he also made it known Pierce will play power forward and might not start, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.

"“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.”"

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Pierce playing a majority of his minutes at power forward could make for some interesting lineups. Rivers could pair Pierce with Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan at center. He could also use him in a hybrid forward lineup next to Josh Smith with Jordan protecting the paint.

The Clippers using Pierce primarily at power forward could remove him from the starting lineup, but also could mean he would be an early substitution with J.J. Redick, allowing Rivers to slide Jamal Crawford in at shooting guard and Smith at small forward.

Finally, Pierce was sold on coming home to play for the Clippers and competing for a title. What role he is used in during the regular season, and how much, remains a mystery.

Luckily, Pierce’s playoff production has been proven time and time again. If the Clippers want to make their first trip to the conference finals, they need to be able to close out games. None do it better than Pierce, which is why he was heavily recruited to reunite with Rivers.

Hopefully, what seemed an inevitable match pays off handsomely.

Next: Doc Rivers says Paul Pierce has always been underrated