The Washington Wizards finally returned to the playoffs in 2014, even winning their first round series against the Chicago Bulls in five games before falling to the Indiana Pacers in six games a round later. As they entered the offseason, their goals were to re-sign center Marcin Gortat and swingman Trevor Ariza.
The Wizards kept Gortat with a five-year, $60 million deal, but lost Ariza to the Houston Rockets on a four-year, $32 million deal. They quickly responded by signing former Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets’ swingman Paul Pierce to a two-year, $11 million deal.
Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors believes Pierce can serve as a mentor to the Wizards’ young wings, Otto Porter, Jr. and Glen Rice, Jr.
No, I think Pierce can serve as a great mentor for them. Neither is ready to start, but Martell Webster looks like he’ll miss a decent chunk of the season and Pierce probably won’t average 35 minutes a night. One of Porter or Rice will see decent playing time, and given Washington’s investment in Porter, I think the backup SF job is his to lose.
Pierce put up 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game while shooting 45.1% from the field, 37.3% from the three and 82.6% from the free throw line. Porter was the third-overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and seemed like a perfect fit with the Wizards. However, he had trouble earning playing time, appearing in just 37 games. He averaged 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds per game while shooting 36.3% from the field, 19.0% from the three-point line and 66.7% from the free throw line. Rice appeared in only 11 games and averaged 2.9 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. However, he was named MVP of the Las Vegas Pro Summer League where he averaged 25.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per and led the Wizards to a record of 5-1.