Where will Paul Pierce fit?

Posted on August 04, 2014 by Andy Livingston

Paul Pierce is currently 22nd on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Although his game has lost a step, The Truth still proved he can hold his own offensively. But with the high powered offense generated by John Wall and Bradley Beal, we have to look at where Pierce will get his shots with the Wizards.

For review, here are the shot charts from last season for John Wall and Bradley Beal.

John Wall:

Photo Credit: Nylon Calculus

And here's Bradley Beal's:

Photo Credit: Nylon Calculus

Wall favors the right side, picking his spot after the season before, where he moved from side to side across the top of the paint. He also finally has established some outside shooting, which was non-existent the year before.

Beal prefers the left side, usually behind the arc, but he's not bad inside the arc too. Now in comparison here is last year's shot chart for Paul Pierce:

Photo Credit: Nylon Calculus

Here are some things to consider from Pierce's game last year. After a rocky start, Jason Kidd turned the Nets into a more small-ball outfit and Pierce put a lot of minutes in at the 4. The high percentage shots (indicated in red) that close to the basket show that Pierce was doing a lot of work in the paint. In the Wizards lineup, barring any injury, he won't be putting that much time in the same position.

What is concerning, however, is that parts of all three shot charts overlap. Beal and Pierce love the corner three on the left side. Wall and Pierce love the right side of the elbow. Their positioning in those quality shots might be a problem if multiple players, especially ones that like to shoot a lot, are going to be bumping into each other.

If Beal and Wall defer to Pierce on the floor and let him get his shots while they work around it, it shouldn't be a problem. This might be the most amenable position between the three. Wall's shooting was all over the place in 2012-13 and his percentage wasn't great. Last season he tightened up, got much better looks and found his spots on the floor. Was it a coincidence that it was opposite Beal's shooting preferences? Probably not. And that's why it shouldn't be a worry for Wall and Pierce to share because Wall's shooting position changed. He has appeared to be open to change in his shot in the past, and learning from a shooter like Pierce could help push Wall into developing in another position.

There are worries that there could be a logjam with Paul Pierce on the floor. He is a jump shooter the same way Bradley Beal is, but he can also post up the way Nene and Marcin Gortat, so while he is versatile, he also operates the same way most of the members on the floor do. The way Pierce will thrive is late game situations, where he has been a crack shot for years. Where the Wizards youth has shown is in the ability to close out games. Pierce will take that role and knock the shots down that are needed to end games. But it is concerning where he will be on the floor before the end of the game.

next up:

Ranking the Opponent: Charlotte Hornets

August 01, 2014

Examining the off season moves of the Washington Wizards competition. This week we look at the Charlotte Hornets

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