Video: Paul Pierce is taking rookie Diamond Stone under his wings
Coming off his lone season with Maryland, 19-year-old Diamond Stone was projected to be a late first round pick in this year’s draft. He fell off the boards that night until finally getting selected 40th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans before his rights were traded to the L.A. Clippers.
Ending up in the City of Angels can be considered as a blessing in disguise for the young big man. The 6-foot-11 center will learn from one of the best coaches in the league in Doc Rivers and he has been spending a lot of time lately working out with veteran forward Paul Pierce.
The 38-year-old has been seen putting in extra work with the rookie and shares his knowledge with him about post moves, a skill that’s expected for a center to have.
When asked about what advice he has shared to the Milwaukee-native, The Truth had this to say, per Dan Woike of the OC Register:
“I’m just trying to pass something to him, that’s all, just give something to the younger generation. That’s why I’ve been out there working with him pretty much every morning, lifting, just teaching him what it’s going to take. A lot of things I’m telling him, I’m telling him like, look, man it was hard making, but the hard part is staying. I’ve seen a lot of guys come and go.”
Stone has the raw talent to make him stick in the NBA for a long time. His game is built for the modern style of play because with his height, he can shoot from the outside, even as far as the three-point line. And the team’s head coach knows how lucky his rookie is in learning from one of the all-time greats.
“Can you imagine being 19, playing 1-on-1 every single day with Paul Pierce? …I say it all the time, it’s nice to look at the guys who are dunking all the time. But if you really want to watch a basketball player, you watch Paul Pierce. He’s fundamental. He has the footwork of a king. You love watching him play. I think it has to help Diamond at some point. I think it will.”
The former McDonald’s All-American had high praises for his teammate’s game and described how difficult it is to defend him.
“Working with a guy with 26,000 points and learning every little detail about footwork and shot fakes and everything, it helps my game. (His footwork) is amazing, just because he can get any shot he wants. And you know what shot he’s going to take, but you still can’t stop it.”
Pierce can only teach him so much, but the key to their teacher-student relationship is that the pupil listens. He shows his willingness to learn which makes it easier for the 18-year veteran to pass on his knowledge of the game.
“Every year I speak to the rookies. I tell them what I think and I work with them. But then, I only stay with the ones who want to listen. I don’t waste my time if you don’t want to listen or you don’t want to get to practice and work, be there early. Those guys, I’m only going to tell you once. I maybe – maybe – tell you twice, but after that you’re on your own now. I’ve seen it too many times to just waste time.
“But if I find a rookie who’s willing to listen, willing to work, I’m going to stick with you. I can see that off the jump.”