First, it should be obvious by now that this trade was motivated by factors beyond on-court productivity.
As freelantz wrote earlier, there was some sort of conflict -- whether personality or philosophical -- between Pierson and coach Nolan Richardson and Tulsa fielded 4-5 offers before accepting this one.
So with that in mind, while some will hold this trade over Richardson's head as a clear sign of incompetence, it might work out better than it initially looks for the Shock in the "addition by subtraction" sense. And for New York, it could be a coup...barring any further personality conflicts.
If Richardson is going to run, the Shock needs to rebound and a utility player like Jackson could do well in this system. By percentage, Jackson is a better defensive rebounder by percentage than Pierson, which is important to note -- she's been getting nearly 20% of the available defensive rebounds when she's on the floor this season compared to Pierson who has been around 11%. In addition, although it hasn't happened this season, last season Jackson had an offensive rebounding percentage of 16.04% meaning she is the type of player that can help a team extend possessions even in limited minutes. Jackson also demonstrates the ability to get to the free throw line with a 40% free throw rate. However, beyond that rebounding strength, Jackson was at or below average as a utility player, players who tend not to shoot as much as rebound and defend. Thus far this season, all of her scoring numbers have been down.
Pierson is pretty much the opposite -- although her rebounding numbers have not been outstanding for Tulsa by percentage, she was Tulsa's second most productive player overall statistically prior to having her minutes cut and has been by far their most efficient scorer. She has already made more three point shots than this season than she's made in her entire career and has been aggressive in attacking the basket after sitting most of last season out due to injury.
Although rebounding has occasionally haunted the Liberty this season, the more consistent problem is that they've just been outshot by opponents in terms of effective field goal percentage, taking 2s and 3s into account. Just as Pierson has been the most efficient scorer on the Shock, she would also be among the most efficient on the Liberty if she is able to maintain the same numbers.Pierson's aggression should help them immensely during the stretches where they start settling for jumpers instead of looking for higher percentage shots.
The biggest question for the Liberty is one of chemistry or perhaps better put, their developing chemistry. Pierson is known as a player with a big personality -- for better or worse, it's almost impossible to deny that. Hoopfeed.com wrote that a trade to the Liberty was initially rejected by Pierson. If that is indeed true, then the biggest thing to watch might be how her personality fits with the other personalities on the team.
More from the release:
NEW YORK, NY – June 14, 2010 – The New York Liberty has acquired forward Plenette Pierson from the Tulsa Shock in exchange for forward Tiffany Jackson, it was announced today by team president and general manager Carol Blazejowski.
Pierson, 28, is a two-time WNBA Champion, having won the title with Detroit in 2006 and 2008. She has a career average of 8.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 1.2 apg through 204 games. Pierson won the inaugural WNBA Sixth Woman Award in 2007. The Kingwood, TX native was originally selected as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2003 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury. She was traded to the Shock on June 29, 2005 by the Mercury in exchange for Andrea Stinson and the Shock's 2006 second round pick.
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to add another player with championship experience to our roster,” said Blazejowski. “Plenette has proven to be an aggressive force in the paint during her professional career, and will help fortify our front court.”
Through eight games this season in Tulsa, the eight-year veteran is averaging 12.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 1.3 apg in 15.8 mpg. She is currently ranked as the WNBA's No. 5 field goal shooter (.535) and No. 15 free throw shooter (.857).
Jackson, 25, a 6-3 forward, was selected No. 5 overall by the Liberty in the 2007 WNBA Draft and owns a career average of 5.9 ppg and 3.8 rpg. She has appeared in nine match-ups this season while averaging 4.3 ppg and 3.1 rpg off the bench for New York.