The Washington Wizards are one of the more interesting teams in the NBA. Bradley Beal and John Wall, who combined for 36.4 points per game last season, have emerged into one of the best backcourts in the NBA to go alongside a solid front court rotation of Nene, Marcin Gortat, and Kris Humphries. However, as good as those five players are, the Wizards likely wouldn’t be considered a serious contender if they didn’t also have Paul Pierce, who is coming off a one year stint with the Brooklyn Nets.
Now you might be saying that Paul Pierce is old and that what makes the Wizards really dangerous is the combination of players I mentioned before him. That’s not at all inaccurate. Those five players I mentioned are going to have to carry the bulk of the load, especially Wall and Beal.
However, I think Paul Pierce’s presence is what the Wizards need to get over the hump and into the NBA Finals this season. Beal and Wall can get the Wizards close, but they need somebody else who is capable of doing damage late in games and also providing them with confidence. Especially in the playoffs.
What better man to fill that need than Paul Pierce? He has championship and leadership experience, and ice in his veins. Pierce lives for the big moments, and when the Wizards are in such moments, Pierce will know what it takes to get the job done.
In addition to being a weapon late in games, Pierce himself can still produce for four quarters. Last season in Brooklyn, Pierce played 28 minutes per game for 75 games and averaged 13.5 points per game. That’s very solid production to add to your lineup. Especially when you already have other guys to do the heavy lifting.
The bottom line is that Paul Pierce is a great addition to this Wizards team both because of the intangibles he brings and the actual on court production that he can provide night in and night out. If the Wizards figure out how to utilize him properly and put his abilities to full use, they could find themselves in the NBA Finals this season.
—Ben Parker: follow me on twitter @nba_lord