We’re profiling every player on the Celtics roster before the season begins. Today it’s Paul Pierce.
Starting small forward
6-feet-7-inches, 235 pounds, 34-years-old
2012/13 salary: $16.8 million
Strengths: Of course you already know a lot about Paul Pierce, so here are some things you may not know. He’s a workaholic. He’s dedicated to his pregame routine. He’s both bigger and faster than he looks on television. You probably know that Pierce’s game is built to last as he gets older because he uses balance and trickery as well as any other player to create space. He’s an underrated defender.
Room to improve: We’re using the same categories for every player, but this one is misnamed for the veterans. Pierce is unlikely to improve as he ages, but as he continues to evolve, shot selection will be key. Pierce is at his best when the Celtics offense runs through him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he should be shooting all the time.
Projections for 2012/13: 75 games, 18.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists
Outlook: Pierce is the glue that holds the Celtics together. That much was clear early last season when the Celtics struggled as Pierce struggled to get back into playing shape after the lockout. Pierce will be a scorer until the day he retires, and the Celtics need him to continue to put the ball in the basket. It will be interesting to see how much time, if any, Jeff Green takes from Pierce during the season.