Pierce open to coming off bench for Nets

Pierce open to coming off bench for Nets
December 9, 2013, 6:30 pm
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Paul Pierce has gone by many names during his illustrious NBA career.

Well it may be time to consider adding one more - sixth man - to the list.

While there are no indications that Pierce will be coming off the bench anytime soon for the Brooklyn Nets, Pierce indicated it is something that he's open to doing if asked.

"I'm not a selfish player," Pierce said following Monday's practice. "If it's something that's best for the team and it's going to help us to win ball games, whatever it is."

Injuries, lots of new players, a new head coach (Jason Kidd) and newer, loftier expectations have all collided in Brooklyn and, at least up to this point, have the Nets looking like a team that's nowhere close to playing at a level a team with title aspirations should be playing.

Brooklyn (6-14) comes into tonight's game fourth in the Atlantic Division while the Celtics sit atop the division with a 10-12 record.

The Nets are starting to get players back who have been injured, such as Pierce and Deron Williams (ankle).

Pierce said there's a "good chance" he'll play on Tuesday while Williams said he's a definite go.

Williams will return and immediately be put back in the starting lineup.

The same is expected of Pierce, although he did return to practice and worked with the team's second unit on Monday presumably because of the uncertainty as to whether he'll play against the Celtics.

Starter.

Backup.

Pierce said it doesn't matter to him.

"If I have to come off the bench, if it's I (have to) not play, if I have to be a cheerleader on the sideline, if it's going to help us win I'm willing to do that," Pierce said.

Although his numbers this season have been career lows in just about every category of significance, Pierce is still a player who can help the Nets get on track this season.

Kidd knows this.

And while he admits he hasn't given any thought to having Pierce in a reserve role off the bench, he won't totally shut down the idea of making that change, either.

Monday's practice in which he had a chance to see Pierce with the backups gave him a glimpse as to how maybe, just maybe, he could utilize Pierce coming off the bench.

"Being able to see him with that group," Kidd said, "that's a possibility."

And it's one that Pierce says he's willing to embrace wholeheartedly.

"Everybody's role gotta change for what's good for the team," Pierce said. "You gotta understand that. It's all on the coaches. Like I said, when we come to our huddle and we talk at the end of practice, we say, 'all in.' I'm all in. If I have to sacrifice whatever I have to sacrifice for the betterment of this team, then I'm willing to do it."