The Washington Wizards were one of the biggest surprises in the NBA last season, and they were able to push the Indiana Pacers to six games in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. They lost Trevor Ariza to the Houston Rockets, but were able to replace him by signing Paul Pierce away from the Brooklyn Nets. Pierce may not be the same type of player that he as back in Boston, but he is still more than capable of performing at a high level and making the Wizards a better basketball team.
So what will Pierce be able to add to a young, up-and-coming Wizards team?
First and foremost, he will be able to offer to the Wizards a veteran leader that can help his team get to the next level. He is a veteran leader and is the type of player that Washington needed last season to help lead the team on the court. The Eastern Conference has gotten a lot tougher this past offseason, and Pierce will be able to help lead the Wizards against some very tough competition.
Pierce played in 75 regular season games last season with the Nets, starting in 68 of those appearances. He ended up averaging 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game, and was a very vocal leader down the stretch of the season and into the playoffs. While he is beginning to lose parts of his game due to age, he still has the type of game that allows him to be effective against younger, more athletic players.
There are some concerns surrounding the loss of Ariza, especially the three-point shooting and defensive aspects of his game. Pierce is a capable three-point shooter, but the Wizards will be losing quite a bit of defense with this move. He may not offer the athletic ability that Ariza did, but he will add the type of fundamental and veteran style of basketball that the Wizards were missing last season.
Overall, this will end up being a very solid move for the Wizards and he will help them take the next step as they look to move deeper into the playoffs. They may not be able to beat out teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers or Indiana Pacers, but they are very close to being able to do just that. This team is beginning to remind quite a few analysts of the Pacers from two or three years ago who were able to push the best team in the NBA to the brink twice in back-to-back seasons.