The Brooklyn Nets traded for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry for one reason last summer, to win an NBA Championship. There really is no alternative for Mikhail Prokhorov and his Nets because the filthy rich Russian businessman went all in on this year, earning the highest salary cap in the Association. Add the savvy veterans to Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, then throw a whole bunch of dollar signs around them and you have a recipe for … failure?
Between injuries, side shows and poor basketball, Brooklyn’s season went to hell in a hand-basket, but with the New Year came a new team. The Nets had a strong January, propelling themselves back into the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. As things begin to turn around for the Nets and the season slowly winds down, those “old, washed up” players start to shine and that is exactly what Pierce did Monday night.
The Philadelphia 76ers were in town and if they hadn’t looked twice, they might have mistaken Pierce for his Boston Celtics days. The veteran guard led Brooklyn with 25 points, going 14-of-14 from the free throw line as the Nets held on for a 108-102 win. It was a huge game for Pierce who is currently only averaging 13 points this season, way down from his career average of 21.
Now, the game-after-game consistency may still not be there for Pierce, but due to his experience, each and every team must still take him seriously. He might not be able to grow facial hair effectively, but Pierce can still drop 30 on a team on any given night. What is more horrifying is that Pierce and the Nets are playing better since they lost Lopez for the season.
It looks like Brooklyn will continue their strong play down the stretch and all the veterans will guide the franchise to the postseason. Once there, everyone else better watch out. Pierce and Garnett both have enough experience to carrier the entire team to the Eastern Conference Finals. The slow start to the season might play well into the hands of the Nets because now no one is expecting much out of them. For me, Brooklyn is my sleeper pick for the postseason, because Pierce and the rest of the team have the ability to stir the pot come late April.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantNBA, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.