5. Paul Pierce at PF, Kevin Garnett at C
Note: Alan Anderson at SG, Joe Johnson at SF
Together in 2013-14: 1 G, 4 MP, outscored 18-9
Highest rank: 1st
Lowest rank: 5th
Most common rank: 4th
Devin’s rank: 4th
Average rank: 4.1
Devin’s take: This is probably the most radical of the suggestions, and the hardest to enact. That said, I actually like this more than me ranking it fourth would indicate. Pierce is a true small forward, but he’s a better rebounder than you’d think (he has a better rebound rate than Mason Plumlee) and his shooting and playmaking would create a significant disadvantage against most teams with slower, bigger power forwards. He could be a point power forward! How many of those do you see in the NBA?
The idea of spreading four shooters around a center isn’t a new one, and it’s had success at the NBA level. It’s the reason why so many teams are looking for power forwards who can shoot — the NBA has figured out how important shooting three-pointers is to their overall offensive gameplan, and having four guys that shoot three-pointers well and facilitate the offense could make for some explosive offensive nights.
The downside: after Pierce was so receptive to coming off the bench, playing him out of position at the 4 may just feel like an insult, and forcing him to bang with bigger players on the other end may just be too much for his body to take. Pierce’s game is the type that deserves preservation and care, forcing him to hit bigger, stronger players night in and night out could leave him worn out before the season’s end.
But I’d still like to see the Nets experiment with this lineup occasionally, just to see what happens. If an opponent doesn’t have an enormous, post-playing demon wrecking ball playing at power forward, it could work really well.