The Truth is... P-Double is a Top 5 Talent
by: Scott LaPeer
Watching game 5 of the Boston/Chicago playoff series Tuesday night with friends, it felt as though the comments about the individual talent on the floor were endless.
"Rondo's really become an elite point guard in the league."
"Ben Gordon is a light's out scoring machine!"
"Ray Allen has the most beautiful jumper, maybe, in the history of the NBA."
"How good is Derrick Rose ALREADY?!"
"I think Noah's starting to come into his own."
"How awful is that tattoo on Marbury's head?!"
All of the above remarks were made, and all of the above were met with complete agreement. Not a single dispute from anyone.
But that all changed at the onset of the 4th quarter when, never one to sit on my opinion, I made the following declaration:
"Paul Pierce is one of the 5 best players in the NBA."
Let the debate begin!
Now, to be completely honest, Pierce only had 11 points to this point in the game. It had been an average night for P-double. Also aiding the instant controversy was the report from inside the room that Pierce had somewhat recently been quoted comparing himself to Kobe Bryant, more or less saying, "I think I'm the best player in the world".
With apologies to Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, and Chris Bosh, I've actually felt this way the past 4 or 5 years. Of course, I'm not so ignorant to think everyone agrees with me. That's what the "comments" section below is for (go ahead, at least give me your top 5).
The timing of my statement last night was priceless. P2 came through right on cue. Seriously, after watching Pierce single-handedly snatch a "W" from Chicago in the game's dying moments (twice!), if you're not ready to give credit where it's due, you probably need to learn more about basketball.
A ridiculous jumper off a spin-move to tie the game and force OT. Three consecutive buckets in the final 76 seconds of overtime. 15 total points in the 4th quarter and OT. One could argue Pierce is the game's greatest clutch performer since MJ stepped away (Seriously-- go YouTube "Paul Pierce buzzer beaters" and make yourself comfortable).
Perhaps seemingly spewing more from the "Department of Ridiculous Rhetoric", I think P2 is actually under-rated. "A 7-time All-Star under-rated?!" Hold on, hear me out...
Pierce has been so consistently solid for long enough, he's now sometimes overlooked as one of the league's premier talents. His style of play is far less "flash-and-dash" than the Kobes, Lebrons, and D-Wades, thus the less highlight-generated hype. He's got a career average of 23 ppg, but if he really needed to, I don't think it would be too tough for him to get an average of 5 more points a night. That would put him right up there, career-wise, with the all-time greats. He's already going to be immortalized in Boston when he retires. His NBA Finals MVP and championship all but sewed that up last year.
By the time Pierce had delivered Boston its 3-2 series lead, the earlier looks of bewilderment that all but screamed, "You're freaking nuts!" had transformed into astonished "You might be right" glances. Each time Pierce buried another late bucket, I caught another. People becoming believers... It's a beautiful thing.
As it's so often said... "The Truth always prevails in the end".