Paul Pierce discussed his tenure with the Brooklyn Nets last season, saying Deron Williams puzzled him and the team's veterans lacked the drive to elevate the team with he and Kevin Garnett as older players.
"Before I got there, I looked at Deron as an MVP candidate,'' Pierce said. "But I felt once we got there, that's not what he wanted to be. He just didn't want that. I think a lot of the pressure got to him sometimes. This was his first time in the national spotlight. The media in Utah is not the same as the media in New York, so that can wear on some people. I think it really affected him.
"I'm much happier. It was a tough situation (in Brooklyn) last year. Horrible, really. It was just the guys' attitudes there. It wasn't like we were surrounded by a bunch of young guys. They were vets who didn't want to play and didn't want to practice. I was looking around saying, 'What's this?' Kevin (Garnett) and I had to pick them up every day in practice.
"If me and Kevin weren't there, that team would have folded up. That team would have packed it in. We kept them going each and every day.''
Pierce and the Nets did not sign a new deal after he became a free agent last offseason.
"Joe is quiet,'' Pierce noted. "He doesn't want much attention. He doesn't say much.
"There's a lot of secondary guys on that team. KG and I went there looking at them as the main guys who would push us, because we were advancing in years. But we ended up doing all the pushing.''