Paul Pierce Injury the Latest Sign That Brooklyn Nets Team Wasn't Meant to Be

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterDecember 2, 2013

USA Today

What a disaster.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, another bolt of destructive lightning has struck the Brooklyn Nets in the form of an injury to Paul Pierce, as announced by the team on Monday.

The basketball gods continue to display their disapproval of Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov's plan for NBA domination—and they've shown no mercy thus far.

Bleacher Report's injury expert Will Carroll chimed in:

The Nets have announced that the injury is a non-displaced fracture of the third metacarpal in his right (shooting) hand. That should indicate Pierce will not need surgery. The team's timetable has been established at two to four weeks. 

The best case is that the bone heals normally in a few weeks and he can return with a minimum of bracing or padding.

The biggest risk will be falling or hard contact from a slashing defender's arm or such. With any fracture, the first task is healing, but the second is making sure the bone is not exposed to more force in a weakened state.

Pierce hasn't exactly been on his game to start the year, and it seems that any Nets run or hot streak would require him to eventually relocate his scoring zone.

"I believe that I will turn this around and our team will turn this around,” Pierce told Ohm Youngmisuk of last week, adding, "Hopefully we learn (to win close games) before it’s too late, before we are completely out of the playoff mix."

It might be tough for Pierce to turn this one around from the bench for the next few weeks—and with the team's record one of the East's worst, the playoff clock has already started.

Whether he'll be out for two weeks or four, the injury is a tough blow for the 5-12 Nets, even if Pierce has been subpar to start the year.

I would have loved to be a fly on a wall during the meeting in which management assessed the risk in trading the future for veterans, because I'm pretty sure every initial fear of theirs has already come to life by December.

I'll admit, the plan sounded James Bond-esque at first—a baller move to bring in three experienced winners to pair with talent in need of leadership, and then making a splash with a rookie coach who seemed poised to defy the laws of experience.

Even the positional fits made sense—Brooklyn had a 1, 2 and 5 and needed a 3, 4 and sixth man.

But what sounded good on paper just hasn't translated to success on the floor. Most of these guys can't even stay out there. Each player's weaknesses and red flags have overshadowed their strengths, with this latest injury to Pierce being the possible final dagger.


NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: (L-R) Joe Johnson #7, Deron Williams #8 and Brook Lopez #11 of the Brooklyn Nets wait for a refs call in the closing minutes of their loss to the Chicago Bulls during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NB
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Anything That Can Go Wrong...

The biggest risk the Nets took when assembling this roster was pairing fragile bodies with aging ones. Aging bodies are brittle, even if their history suggests otherwise.

Brooklyn's lineup is essentially a package of glass instruments without the security blanket of bubble wrap. Something seems to break or dent whenever the ride gets bumpy—both the older items and the newer ones. This group is missing that young, trustworthy talent, like a Paul George, capable of protecting or preserving the credibility of the team.

Deron Williams' ankle continues to hold him back. He's been able to play in only nine games, while he's been limited to an average of just 24 minutes in those games. Brook Lopez, who's been injury prone throughout his entire career, has already missed seven games due to an ankle injury as well.

Kevin Garnett sure isn't as durable as he used to be. The Big Ticket has missed two games so far and hasn't reached the 30-minute mark once—not to mention he's hit double figures in scoring only twice.

Don't forget Andrei Kirilenko, who's managed to play a whopping 53 minutes all year.

Now Pierce could be out for what should be a crucial month of December.

Nothing has gone right for this organization since making that blockbuster move. Even the coach can't spill a drink without looking like he purposely did it.

It seems that anything that can go wrong has gone wrong for the Nets, who now find themselves deeply invested in players whose present and future values appear to be plummeting by the day.

Through roughly one month of the regular season, the Nets have been hit with the perfect storm of disaster—the injury-prone guys haven't avoided injury, the old guys lost their mojo and the rookie coach just seems lost.

Though it's still early, you just don't get the feeling that time is on their side.


Oct 12, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; From left Brooklyn Nets small forward Paul Pierce and Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Garnett and Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams look on against the Detroit Pistons during the second half of the preseason game
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Tipping Point

This was it, my friends. Losing Pierce at this stage could be the tipping point—especially with Williams doubtful and Lopez questionable for what seems like each game on the schedule.

Right now, Joe Johnson is the team's rock, a somewhat scary thought given the expectations of the roster.

Despite having the highest payroll in 2013-14 by roughly $14 million, the Nets will now turn to Alan Anderson, Tyshawn Taylor, Andray Blatche and Shaun Livingston to keep their season alive.

With guys entering and exiting the lineup like a New York subway turnstile, the Nets will never have the chance to build that winning on-court chemistry. And it's not like the window is getting any bigger.

Pierce, Garnett and Terry are obviously on the decline, while the max-contract stars aren't healthy enough to produce max-contract results. Unfortunately, the team also sent away some valuable future draft picks.

This injury to Pierce might ultimately be the weight that ends up sinking Brooklyn's ship. I'm not sure the Nets have enough depth, firepower or stability to replace his presence in the lineup. Considering the hole it's in already, this was a blow it couldn't afford.

The basketball gods have spoken—and they're saying this Brooklyn-Boston collaboration was a bad idea. It really just looks like it was never meant to be.


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