Paul Pierce, who has played like a 35-year-old for five years now, is currently with the Wizards, and judging from this Jackie MacMullan column, he’s a lot happier in Washington than he ever was with the Brooklyn Nets.
Pierce, who was openly sad about leaving the Celtics for Brooklyn, talked at length about how miserable it was to play for the Nets last season. He claimed that he and Kevin Garnett expected smaller roles when they were traded there, but none of the bigger players on the team seemed to give a shit. Via ESPN Boston:
“I’m much happier,’’ he said. “It was a tough situation (in Brooklyn) last year. Horrible, really.
“It was just the guys’ attitudes there. It wasn’t like we were surrounded by a bunch of young guys. They were vets who didn’t want to play and didn’t want to practice. I was looking around saying, ‘What’s this?’ Kevin (Garnett) and I had to pick them up every day in practice.
“If me and Kevin weren’t there, that team would have folded up. That team would have packed it in. We kept them going each and every day.’’
Pierce also took a jab at point guard Deron Williams:
“Before I got there, I looked at Deron as an MVP candidate,’’ Pierce said. “But I felt once we got there, that’s not what he wanted to be. He just didn’t want that.
“I think a lot of the pressure got to him sometimes. This was his first time in the national spotlight. The media in Utah is not the same as the media in New York, so that can wear on some people. I think it really affected him.’’
Somewhat related: remember when Pierce and Garnett heaped loads of praise on the loud, supportive Raptors fans in last year’s playoffs? Those quotes are more amusing now.
The whole piece is worth a read, especially the part where Pierce considers punching Otto Porter to make him play better.