Pierce's latest milestone testament to his versatility

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Pierce's latest milestone testament to his versatility

BOSTON -- For years Paul Pierce was looked to as the floor leader for the Celtics. In spite of being a forward -- not a point guard -- he was the veteran captain and one of the few players with proven experience on an otherwise young Celtics teams. In other years, he was the go-to guy on struggling squads.

It was not uncommon to see Pierce with the ball in his hand, managing the court and directing his teammates. He averaged a career-high 5.1 assists per game during the 2003-04 season in which the Celtics finished 36-46, and dished over four dimes per game for six straights seasons through the Celtics championship run in 2008.

That has changed since Rajon Rondo's emergence as one of the NBA's best passers and ball handlers (he leads the league with 12.8 assists per game). But Pierce still has it in him.

On Saturday Pierce picked up his 4,000th career assist while dishing a season-high nine helpers in the Celtics' win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Rondo led the game with 11.

"I thought my teammates did a good job of getting me the ball in the post area," Pierce said. "I recognized the double teams and I was able to find people, and that's how I got the majority of my assists tonight."

Now in this 15th season, 35-year-old Pierce still draws defenders and is a threat when left alone with an open shot. He is averaging a team-high 19.2 points this season and remains a threat in clutch situations. That alone opens up opportunities for him to stifle his opponents and find his teammates for a shot.

Pierce is posting 3.6 dimes per game this season, down from 4.5 last season, but he has that ability to get his teammates going on any given night. His keen recognition of the open man enhances the Celtics' ball distribution, giving them another strong option in addition to Rondo.

"It's a mixture of both," Rondo said of Pierce's assists. "Paul making the right play and guys finishing for him and making shots. He got trapped, he invited a double team, and he played unselfishly and moved the ball and guys made shots for us."

Pierce's career high is 14 assists again the Orlando Magic last season on April 18. He currently ranks 17th among all active players with 4,006 assists.

What Celtics have to offer in potential trade

What Celtics have to offer in potential trade

BOSTON – Between now and Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, the Boston Celtics are going to have conversations involving most if not all their assets. 

Here’s a look at what the Celtics have to offer as part of a potential trade, broken down between draft picks and the rights to players.

DRAFT PICKS

2017

-Own first round pick (have the right to swap for Brooklyn’s first-round pick)

-Own second round pick (top-45 protected; will be conveyed to Brooklyn if Celtics swap first-round picks with the Nets this year).

-Minnesota’s second round pick

-Cleveland’s second round pick

-Los Angeles Clippers’ second round pick

2018

-Own first round pick

-Brooklyn’s first round pick

-Own second round pick (top-55 protected; if it falls outside of that range, will be conveyed to Oklahoma City).

2019

-Own first-round pick

-Memphis first round pick*

-Los Angeles Clippers first round pick (top-14 protected; pick can only be conveyed to Boston two years after the Clippers convey a first-round pick to Toronto which is likely to happen this year).

-Own second round pick (top-55 protected; if it falls outside of the top-55, pick will be conveyed to Memphis).

-Detroit second round pick

2020

-Own first round pick

-Memphis first round pick*

-Los Angeles Clippers first round pick (top-14 protected; conveyed this year if it wasn’t sent Boston’s way in 2019).

-Own second round pick

-Miami second round pick

2021

-Own first round pick

-Memphis first round pick*

-Own second round pick

2022

-Own first round pick

-Memphis first round pick*

-Own second round pick

-Los Angeles Clippers second round pick (If first round pick not conveyed to Boston by 2020, Clippers will send the Celtics their 2022 second round pick).

*This pick from Memphis will be conveyed to Boston two years after the Grizzlies send a first-round pick to Denver. The pick is top-6-protected in 2017 and 2018, and is unprotected in 2019. The pick Boston will receive from Memphis is top-9 protected in 2019, top-7 protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021.

RIGHTS TO PLAYERS

Guershon Yabusele

Size, position: 6-foot-8 power forward

How acquired by Boston: Drafted by the Celtics in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft, 16th overall.

Statistics this season: Yabusele is playing with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. He is averaging 21.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Ante Zizic

Size, position: 6-foot-11 power forward/center

How acquired by Boston: Drafted by the Celtics in the first round of the 2016 NBA draft, No. 23 overall.

Statistics this season: Playing for Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul led by ex-NBA coach David Blatt, Zizic has averaged 10.3 points and 67.3 percent shooting from the field. 

Abdel Nader

Size, position: 6-foot-8 shooting guard/small forward

How acquired by Boston: Drafted by the Celtics in the second round of the 2016 NBA draft, 58th overall.

Statistics this season: Playing for Boston’s Gatorade-League affiliate the Maine Red Claws, Nader was named to the G-League’s all-star team in large part because of his 22 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game average this season.

Marcus Thornton

Size, position: 6-foot-4 shooting guard

Status: Drafted by the Celtics in the second round of the 2015 NBA draft, 45th overall.

This season: Playing for Consultinvest VL Pesaro in Italy-Serie A, Thornton is averaging 11.9 points, 1.5 assists and 1.9 rebounds.

Watch Tom Brady's daughter Vivian tear it up on ski slopes

Watch Tom Brady's daughter Vivian tear it up on ski slopes

Tom Brady's daughter Vivian is a natural on skis.

The New England Patriots quarterback and apparently proud father posted a comical video of his 4-year-old daughter tearing it up on the ski hill. Vivian took on the bottom section of the run while adhering to the all-important instructions from the Super Cool Ski Instructor from the Comedy Central show, "South Park."

Brady added the audio from the "South Park" ski instructor to the video of his daughter skiing, and included a joke about "french frying" and "pizzaing" at the correct moments. 

"That’s my girl! Pizzaing when she's supposed to pizza, French frying when she's supposed to French fry... NOT having a bad time!!" Brady joked on Instagram.