If the Washington Wizards needed to add some fire to their run for a title, it looks like they did so while signing Paul Pierce.
The downside of a veteran like Pierce, 36, is that clearly he's on the downside of his career.
Diminishing skills and injuries mount up and it's always a risk to sign a guy who seems more likely to get injured than younger guys.
That's why it's tough to imagine Pierce replacing all that Trevor Ariza and Al Harrington brought to the table. There are, however, benefits to a guy like Pierce, who has been around for awhile, can lead by example and knows what it's like to win a championship.
What has he said?
Well, he's told teammates that they need to be tough, they can't get pushed around and they need to stick up for themselves.
"You like competitive guys that take things serious. He's not the type of guy that has a lot of friends in the NBA. Like the old days," teammate Otto Porter, Pierce's backup, told CSN Washington. "That's good. That's what our team needs.
"Today I heard him say, "Hey, we got to protect home court this year. Anybody who come up here, they're going to get beaten up.' I was like, 'That's what I'm talking about.' I hadn't heard that in here. I'm about that. That's how it was at Georgetown. Protect home court, always. … That's going to change."
Yep, he went there, telling his teammate opponents would be beaten up.
Why that's good
Let's start with the Wizards home record last season, which was 22-19, not great for a team looking to move up and be a title contender.
But that's where veterans like Pierce and Andre Miller come in.
They show what every player should be doing. Pierce reportedly has come into camp in great shape and his work ethic has left his teammates' jaws on the floor.
"That's what I think makes him great. He's a true warrior. He's a leader. I've been here for a week now and I work with him every day. I play with him every day. It's ridiculous how people follow his lead," teammate Marcin Gortat said. "He shows up at the gym two hours before practice. Even young guys can't beat him. That shows a lot. Everybody's running, he's not going to sit on the bench. We're all going to run together. I don't think it's going to be a problem with him."
You need guys like that to win titles. Guys who are willing to do whatever it takes to win.
Pierce seems to be that guy.