Since John Wall was drafted in 2010, the Washington Wizards have won a total of 116 games out of 328 – a wretched percentage of 0.353%. In contrast, the Paul Pierce-led Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets have won 180 of 328 games, good for a percentage of 0.548%. Yes, there are huge differences but I’ll tie this all up in a bow when I’m finished here.
One Captain was basically a sophomore in college trying to lead a group of immature knuckleheads, (i.e. Young, Blatche and McGee) to a place he had heard about but never seen before, while the other Captain was leading a group of grizzled, championship-tested veterans up against the powerhouses of the NBA.
The truth is John Wall has never played beside a player the likes of Paul Pierce and I frankly don’t care if this is a shell of the player he was in his prime with the Celtics. The knowledge, the habits, the leadership, everything off the court and everything on the court with less than five minutes to play in a game will forever be with him. Those are all things that Wall has admitted to have gotten better at with Trevor Ariza so just imagine what he’ll get from Pierce.
For what Pierce cannot bring anymore from a physical standpoint, Wizards fans can only hope they will be able to get out of last year’s No. 3 draft pick, Otto Porter, Jr. and from what he’s shown in the first three games of the NBA Summer League, well, maybe letting go of Ariza’s commanding 4-year deal wasn’t such a bad idea. Let’s not get things twisted though, this isn’t some broken ass man holding on for hope – the guy did win a playoff series on the other team’s home court….on defense.
Let’s talk for a second about some numbers.
Pierce ranks 5th in NBA History for 3-pt FG made with 1935 going into the 2014-15 season. I believe it’s pretty safe to say that based on the production value of Ariza last year, who posted the 4th highest total of 3-pt field goals in team history (Arenas 205 in ’06-07, 205 in ’04-05 and 199 in 05-06), that Pierce will be moving into the number 3 spot currently held by Jason Kidd (1988), with not a single person realistically near him for years to come.
While Pierce may be far from the guy who won the 3-pt shooting contest the year Wall was drafted, I’m sure he’s going to enjoy the open looks he’s going to get from Wall when Beal isn’t making it rain himself.
Another big ranking for me that cannot be discounted is the amount of points The Truth has scored over his career. Pierce currently ranks 8th all time with 25,031 points. With even a decent season, one in which he matches his output from last year and considering Wall is his distributor (a sure bet), Pierce will move into the Top 15 all time as a member of the Washington Wizards.
This simply shows the caliber of scorer Pierce is, and more than anything, when the game is on the line even at the age of 97, the Wizards don’t need to be scared anymore or go pressing for answers out of their young squad. Instead, they can rely on a guy who is wrapping up a Hall of Fame career and as recently as a few months ago, was still doing stuff like this:
For kicks and giggles, here are the names Pierce will almost certainly be passing this year:
Jerry West – 25,192 points
Reggie Miller – 25,279 points
Alex English – 25,613 points
So although Ariza was significantly better from 3pt land than Pierce (although I love the 62.5% from the left corner) I think it’s safe to say that there will be a fair trade off in other zones on the court. Especially for a team that loves, loves, loves the mid-range jumper.
Paul Pierce 2013-14 stats:
Trevor Ariza 2013-14 stats:
The second part of the Pierce equation is what I’ll refer to as the celebrity affect, that thing that kicks in irregardless of a team’s history, their records, etc. The Wizards (yet again) have a future Hall of Famer who is winding down his career and I’m sure the NBA is going to want to soak up any and all match-ups of Pierce against his former teams, rivals and ex-teammates.
Washington, with one unbelievably never-saw-it-coming move went from being on National TV less times than wedding fingers on a hand – no offense to Kris Humphries – to potentially seeing a boatload of ESPN, TNT and ABC match-ups featuring Wall, Beal and Pierce vs. any of these pick your storyline games:
Why does national attention and exposure matter for a team like the Wizards?
In my own opinion, when you are trying to draw if not the best, the second best basketball player in the world to your team, it does not hurt for more people to know who your team is than just those in the city which the team plays in.
Secondly, John Wall and Bradley Beal will now become household names and deservedly so. And after playing in the basement of the Southeast Division for almost four years, the Wizards for the first time since the Gilbert years will be going into a season with legitimate hopes of a division title, something they haven’t accomplished since the 1978-79 season.
Free agents for the next two years will now get to see the talent that Ernie Grunfeld and Tommy Shepard have assembled. They will get to see the foundation that has been built, not only by watching SportsCenter or NBATV highlights, but from the attention that is sure to be paid to by the people who help us formulate our opinions – talking heads like Stephen A. Smith, who had his own opinion about the Wizards’ future on Inside the Locker Room with Doc and BMitch.
Continuing my comparisons of the last four years between Wall and Pierce, I decided to review the National TV appearances during Pierce’s tenure for the Celtics/Nets against Wall’s with the Wizards. Again, understanding it’s not apples to apples but trying to emphasize the importance of someone of Pierce’s stature and relevance in the league. Thank you in advance to Sports Media Watch for the totals, which don’t seem to include NBA TV.
In 2010-11, the Celtics had the league maximum of 25 National TV games while the Wizards only had two.
In 2011-12m the Celtics had 24 National TV games, the Wizards had an amount equal to but not greater than zero.
In 2012-13, the Celtics got punished a bit and only had 18 of their games on National TV while the Wizards matched their total from the previous year, again with zero.
In 2013-14, the Brooklyn Nets sporting the new duo of Pierce and Garnett would command 17 nationally televised games while John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Wiz Kids would go from having one game vs. Cleveland to matching their previous 3 years and end up with zero, again. Until the playoffs that is.
Now, let me wrap this up and explain why I think all of this matters.
In a day and age when being popular – or better yet – being relevant is extremely important and you are trying to change your team and the culture from doormat to title contender, the little things like Twitter followers, Facebook pages and national TV games turn casual viewers into fans. And the more fans and the more popular you are, the more success that typically follows…this is, after all, America, folks, land of the popularity contest.
Tell me again social media isn’t important or here to stay.
Honestly though, you don’t think Ted Leonsis, the Executive lead for the NBA’s Media Committee isn’t licking his chops at the idea of going from two national TV games in four years to potentially a half dozen, if not more, all because of The Truth?
Prior to this season, this was the last national TV game for the Wizards, courtesy of TNT:
Now, what the hell does Twitter have to do with landing big time players?
In a game recently dominated by analytical thinking and numbers allow me to use just that to explain. The Wizards with four simple transactions just let go of and traded away 77k followers and picked up an additional 4.0 million on one social media site.
OUT – 77.3K followers:
IN – 4.0 MILLION followers:
With all due respect to Trevor Ariza and Trevor Booker, two of the coolest and nicest people I’ve ever covered, combined they would not be able to replicate the amount of attention that will be thrust on the Wizards over the next two years, whether through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube clips, Google+ pages or any other means of social media you may choose. All of that will surely come in handy when trying to lure a certain young man back to his city.
Washington needs all hands on deck and every possible chip it can stack in it’s favor if it plans to lure home it’s basketball prodigy, it’s native son. Ted knows it, Ernie and Tommy know it, Wall and Beal know it, and as we get closer and closer to the Summer of ’16, you can bet your ass that some other folks around this town are going to have a few things to say to KD about coming home and will take to the same means Durant himself did to lure THIS GUY here:
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) April 2, 2014
Paging RGIII, paging DeSean Jackson, paging DeAngelo Hall, Mr. Ovechkin please….anybody seen Bryce Harper?
At the end of the day, the NBA is a business and all the moves we’ve seen the Wizards make the last few days are about dollars and cents- and nothing makes more sense than setting your franchise up for long term success by aggressively pursuing the one man who could single handedly change your team’s bottom line.
So, don’t mind The Truth, Mr. Durant. He’s just here to show the league that the back-court in DC is for real, to drive up national interest for the Wizards, and most importantly to keep the seat warm until your possible arrival.
You have no idea what 41 sold-out games at the Verizon Center is going to be like but we are going to enjoy blogging about it for the next 700+ days.
That, my friends, is nothing but The Truth.