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2016 Clippers Player Preview: Paul Pierce

The player preview series continues with Paul Pierce's uncertain future.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Paul Pierce

Height: 6'7"

Weight: 235 lbs

Age: 38

Position: F

Experience: 18 years

Key Stats: 68 GP, 18.1 MIN, 6.1 PTS, 36.3% FG, 31.0% 3PT, 8.29 PER

Contract Status: 2 years remaining, 2016-17 $3,527,920 (fully guaranteed), 2017-18 $3,679,840 ($1,069,080 guaranteed) per Spotrac

Breakdown: The breakdown is just that. His body looks spent. And that's OK. He turns 39 next month. He's a for-sure Hall-of-Famer, and not one of those Bill Bradley Hall-of-Famers. Players with "bad bodies" aren't supposed to last, let alone thrive, for as many years as Pierce has. Any disappointment over his play should reflect more upon the reasonableness of last summer's expectations than the perception of underperformance. With his on-court value limited to knocking down the occasional (flat) jumper and fighting for post position with younger combo forwards, Pierce's 2015-2016 season will likely be little more than eventual basketball trivia as fans 50 years from now will ask one another, "Hey, did you know Paul Pierce played for the Clippers?"

Outlook for 2016-2017: The first question, as recently summarized by Robert Flom, is whether Paul Pierce will even play the upcoming season. Since he has yet to decide as I write this, let's assume he does play and turn our attention to more relevant questions like how much and how well. Given that his legs appear to have *ahem* turned to stone, I'll venture to say the answers are "not much" and "not well".

The "not well" has been well parsed on this site and others. The "not much" is a product of the "not well" and of the team's roster construction. Despite Doc Rivers' unabashed loyalty to some of his fading veterans, there just isn't anywhere for Pierce to play. If he's still anything then he's a power forward. Pierce's late-to-postseason resurgence in Washington two years ago, his most recent run of good play, came at the 4. With the summer additions of Marreese Speights, Brandon Bass, and Brice Johnson, plus the return of a certain and hopefully healthy #32, power forward may be the Clippers' deepest position. Even considering the team's dearth of competent wings, Doc would have to be one desperate man to turn to the old Celtic legend for significant minutes at small forward.

So, if Pierce beats this projection and sees some real playing time, we can ask another question: "How are the Clippers doing?" And the answer will be, "Not well."