Paul Pierce, one of the newest members of the Brooklyn Nets, kindled the already fiery rivalry developing between the Nets and the New York Knicks earlier this summer. In a couple of separate interviews, Pierce said that his hatred for the Knicks had grown and that he believes that the Nets will eventually be the “most popular” team in New York.
Never ones to stay silent, Knicks guard and NBA Sixth Man of the Year winner J.R. Smith is just the latest member of the Knickerbockers to respond to Pierce’s comments. In an interview with Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Smith called Pierce a “bitter person” because of his departure from the Boston Celtics. Smith also went on to say that Pierce “doesn’t really know what New York is all about” and added that Pierce’s words will have “consequences” that will catch up to him.
Pierce and the Nets can’t take these comments lightly. In fact, they should take these comments from Smith and the Knicks very personally. Not only are Smith and the Knicks putting a bulls-eye on and singling out Pierce, but they are also not taking the Nets and the talented roster that they have assembled.
Pierce will turn 36 years old before the start of the upcoming season, but he still has a lot of juice left in the tank if last season was any indication. Pierce averaged 18.6 points, 6.3 boards and 4.8 assists last season while shooting 43.6 percent from the floor and a solid 38 percent from three-point range. With more talent surrounding him and him not having to carry the team, he should be able to maintain a high level of production.
Most importantly, though, is that Pierce, Kevin Garnett and new head coach Jason Kidd have to light a fire under this team. Last season, this was a talented team whose biggest problem seemed to be something close to apathy. They weren’t playing inspired basketball on a nightly basis. If they can find a way to do that, though, this team can be one of the best in the Eastern Conference. Perhaps Smith’s comments as well as comments from rest of the Knicks are just the motivation that this team needs.
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