Last season, the Brooklyn Nets main scoring options were Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez with Deron Williams running the point, but with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce added to the lineup things are almost certain to look quite different next season.
For one thing, Pierce was the No. 1 option for the Celtics, and, after Rajon Rondo went down with a knee injury, he was their point man too. Figuring out how he fits is going to be the key issue when trying to figure out what the Nets look like going forward. According to Pierce, he’s just going to be a glorified role player with Brooklyn.
“There will definitely be less pressure on me on this ball club than there was in Boston,” Pierce told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. “In Boston, I was the No. 1 primary option. Here we have so many options. We have young All-Stars on this team. My job is to be more of a glorified role player, as (Doc Rivers) used to always say, with the guys we have.
“With my abilities to do so many things, there’s going to be nights where I’m not going to score a bunch of points. I can do other things to help this club win. With the combination of these guys, we’re going to take pressure off each other.”
That’s one of the exciting things about this trade — on one hand you have Garnett talking about how sacrifice is the key to winning a championship and now you have Pierce willing to step down from being the most important guy to maybe the third or fourth, even fifth, most important player in the starting lineup.
That doesn’t mean that Pierce won’t eventually become the most important piece to the offense. It was up to Johnson to take that big, final shot when the Nets needed it last season. However, Johnson would often have a knack for disappearing for large stretches at a time. So it may fall on Pierce to pick up the slack and become the guy.
Or it could be that Lopez is the guy. Or D-Will. Either way, it’s good to see that Pierce and Garnett are coming to Brooklyn with a championship on their minds and are willing to do what is necessary to get there even if it means their own statistics take a hit.