NBA champion Paul Pierce is coming to Lob City. The Clippers announced the signing of the 37 year old small forward to a three year deal for a reported $10 million. Pierce joins a talent-laden squad that advanced to the conference semi-finals in 2015 before a monumental collapse in game six vs. Houston brought their dream season to a premature end. But is Pierce a good fit for the Clippers? Can he mesh with resident stars Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan to form a fierce, formidable big four? Obviously Clippers coach and GM Doc Rivers thinks so. As members of the 2008 Boston Celtics, Rivers and Pierce captured an NBA championship and it's a good bet Rivers is counting on Pierce to be the missing piece for the title-thirsty Clippers, and with good reason. No, make that five good reasons: 1. Pierce is coming home Pierce went to high school in Inglewood, and will spend what will most likely be his final NBA seasons in familiar territory. He's the prodigal son returning home to claim his birthright. Pierce lifting the championship trophy in his home town is a feel-good story sure to resonate with NBA fans nationwide. Remember Jerome Bettis at Super Bowl XL in Detroit? Yeah, it's a lot like that. 2. He's productive In a career spanning 17 seasons Pierce has averaged 20.7 points and 5.8 rebounds. It's true the 11.9 points and 4.0 rebounds he averaged in 2015 as a member of the Washington Wizards were career lows, but so were his minutes (26.2). His .537 field goal percentage was the second highest mark of his career, and his 2015 offensive (112) and defensive (104) efficiency ratings were above his career averages. 3. He's a winner In each of the past eight NBA campaigns Pierce's teams have won. Yes, part of that has to do with the great teams he has been on, and one can't overlook the presence of Garnett, Allen, and Rivers in Boston, but winning, especially deep in the playoffs is contagious. Rivers is hoping with Pierce in the locker room that contagion will spread like a bad cold. 4. He's a leader Washington missed the playoffs in five of the six years before Pierce's arrival, and it's no coincidence that with him the Wizards came within a heartbeat of the 2015 conference finals. Pierce took the young inexperienced Wizards, strapped them on his back and showed them how to win. In today's NBA a veteran who can do that is priceless. And at a mere $3.3 million per season, that kind of swag is a bargain. 5. He's clutch It's one thing to want the ball in crunch time, and it's quite another to deliver when you get it. Pierce does both. A well-timed buzzer beater by Pierce every now and then, and perhaps the Clippers find themselves in the heat of the championship run rather than on the outside looking in. Only time will tell if this is a great move or not, but with the triumvirate of Paul, Griffin, and Jordan all in their primes, a slightly over-the-hill Pierce might be the final puzzle piece that pushes the Clippers from the middle of the pack to the penthouse.
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