WALTHAM Paul Pierce is looking a bit slimmer these days.
If Doc Rivers has his way, the same might be true for Pierce's minutes this season.
Having Pierce at the top of his game when the playoffs roll around is a priority for Boston, which is why Rivers is seriously considering putting similar limitations on Pierce's playing time that he has done with Kevin Garnett.
"Paul is a guy I've never really worried about with minutes," Rivers said. "But I'm going to watch his minutes."
Heading into his 15th NBA season, Pierce has averaged 36.9 minutes played per game and has not averaged less than 34 in any single season.
That's a considerable amount of wear and tear over time, which is why Rivers has to give serious thought to going with the 5-5-5 plan for Pierce which would limit him to playing in five-minute bursts.
While it would certainly require some adjusting on Pierce's part, he's all for it.
"Doc, he's the coach around here," Pierce said. "I trust his judgement in everything that he does. We've been together a long time. Whatever is going to be best for the team, that's what it's gonna be."
But Pierce is one of the NBA's best at scoring in bunches, which might at times make the 5-5-5 rule difficult to implement.
"With me and Doc, we'll figure things out," Pierce said. "But if I'm on fire the first five minutes, I can't come out. It's simple and plain."
A hot-shooting Pierce.
Rivers has no issues with riding him and ditching the 5-5-5 plan for a game every now and then.
"I'm all for it," Rivers said. "Paul is a gym rat. Obviously if we can keep Rondo's minutes down, we will. And Paul's minutes down. It doesn't mean we will. But I'm saying, it would be nice."
Having a healthy Pierce at the start of training camp is a treat as well.
Pierce suffered a heel injury shortly before the start of training camp last season. It limited him early in the season and it wasn't until around the all-star break did he start playing like the dominant wing player that has been named to the all-star team 10 times.
"It's definitely an advantage to come out here and be already in shape," Pierce said. "Injuries hampered me coming into training camp. I can get off to a better start, hopefully. It's important that we stay healthy. It's important that we get off to a good start."