Paul Pierce helps youthful Wizards compete in wide open East


Pierce Wizards

The Washington Wizards have one of the youngest cores in the league. Their starting backcourt consists of a 23-year-old point guard drafted first overall and a 21-year-old shooting guard drafted third overall.

John Wall and Bradley Beal are the future in Washington. They are also the present though. The Wizards entered the 2013-2014 NBA season on a five-year playoff drought. Their young backcourt grew up this past season and role players stepped up on the roster as the Wizards won 44 games and made the playoffs.

They even won their first round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls before losing to the top seed Indiana Pacers in six games in the semifinals. While Wall and Beal are the present and future of the team, they are very young. This past offseason, the Wizards signed veteran small forward Paul Pierce to provide some leadership and hopefully push the Wizards even further up in the now wide-open Eastern Conference.

Pierce is a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. The small forward spent every year but last season with the Boston Celtics and is beloved as a player there is in Boston sports. He is a 10-time All-Star selection and won the NBA Finals MVP in 2007-2008. He ranks 18th all-time in career scoring and continues to climb up that list. Most of all, Pierce has played in the big games and won them. He is a clutch performer and has more experience than almost the entire Wizards roster. When Washington lost small forward Trevor Ariza to Houston during free agency, that could’ve spelled doom. Ariza was a top outside shooter and a defensive stopper on the wing. He priced himself out in Washington though. Pierce signed a team-friendly deal and will step into the small forward position and give the Wizards a strong leadership presence.

Wall and Beal will be relied on to continue to improve their game in 2014-2015. Wall is coming off his first All-Star game appearance and Beal has not shot the ball as well as he was projected out of college. They are both young players though and form as athletic and dynamic a backcourt there is in the NBA. Add in big man Marcin Gortat and the Wizards have a nice inside-outside attack.


Pierce will not only be relied on to mentor Wall and Beal, but also last year’s first round pick Otto Porter, Jr. Porter played sparingly in his first season with Washington, but was drafted third overall for a reason in 2013. He can do a little bit of everything and makes everyone else around him better. Playing behind Pierce only figures to help him.

With LeBron James signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the offseason, Paul George going out for the year with a broken leg and Derrick Rose coming back from basically over two years away from NBA basketball, the Wizards will be one of the favorites in the Eastern Conference. With a star young backcourt, a solid inside game and a Hall-of-Famer on the wing, Washington is no longer happy with just making the playoffs. They are in search of an NBA title.

Ron Leyba is the content manager of Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues – premier source of fantasy basketball updates, rankings and rumors. For more of his fantasy basketball updates, follow Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ account.

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