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August 13, 2007

Pierce weighs in on defense

By Shira Springer, Globe Staff

By Shira Springer

Upon arriving for the first session of his weeklong camp at the Basketball City facility across from TD Banknorth Garden Monday, Paul Pierce went right to work, instructing youngsters on the importance of getting down on defense. The Celtics captain has placed a similar emphasis on his own offseason workouts as he prepares for the upcoming season and hopes to be in top form after an injury-riddled 2006-07 campaign.

If all goes as planned, Pierce will start the season at close to his college playing weight of 230 pounds in an effort to improve his quickness and ability to guard players at different positions.

The last couple years, I played at 240, 245, but I think Im going to go back down to my college weight and play at 230, he said. Im at, like, 238 now. Playing at 240 or 245 is not bad, but I want to come in lighter and faster.

Im focusing on my defense, being able to guard all three positions. The stuff I think about is if I have to go to shooting guard and defend and take pressure off Ray [Allen]. I dont need that much extra weight. I just want the footwork and quickness to guard shooting guards.

In another sign of extra commitment, Pierce has already made his offseason move from Los Angeles to Boston. Usually, he waits until after Labor Day to shift his base of operations. With the exception of a trip to China next week for a promotional shoe tour and a few days back in LA to pack, Pierce plans to be in the Boston area for the remainder of the offseason. He hopes Allen and Kevin Garnett can soon join him for informal workouts.

Were going to come together in another week or two, get together a little early, just start getting to know each other on the basketball court, hang out a little bit off the court, said Pierce. Well probably do that out here.

We know its going to take some time to get a feel for one another on the court. I know what Kevin can do on the court. I know what Ray can do on the court, and they know what I can do on the court.

But its about bringing it together and making it flourish through all of us. With our abilities, with our unselfishness and the way we play, its going to come together faster than people think.

When not instructing campers, working out, or planning quality time with Allen and Garnett, Pierce is busy thinking about the Celtics next move. While not interested in disclosing the names of players he would like added to the roster, Pierce did endorse the acquisition of another veteran point guard. He also thinks the Celtics could use another wing player.

Im not sure who its going to be, but another veteran point guard is something we definitely have to look at, said Pierce. I think Rajon [Rondo] is going to be a great player. I think hes going to be a starter.

But you start looking at the playoffs, when we start getting in those situations, for a young player, thats a lot of pressure to put on him, especially at that point guard position. If you have a veteran around him, that can help him, show him what its going to take to get through these times. Thats going to be key.

Maybe another wing player, scrappy, someone who can kind of fill in Tonys [Allen] role until Tony gets back healthy. If you add those two pieces, I think were right there with anybody in the league.

So what about Reggie Miller?

Ive heard his name a couple times in the last week or so, said Pierce. I know [Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers] have talked to him. I think hed be a great addition, another veteran. Regardless of his age, hes a guy youd still have to pay attention to out there, late-game situations also.

It would definitely be weird, a guy whos Mr. Pacer. It would be like if I turned 33 and if I went somewhere else. He was there, what, 18 years in one uniform? I guess he said if [Michael] Jordan can do it, why not him?

This story will appear in Tuesday's Boston Globe.

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