Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 at 8:00 am  |  90 responses

Top 50: Paul Pierce, no. 19

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Dennis Tarwood / @tuffyr

Paul Pierce is now in his 11th year post-stabbing.  He’ll turn 33 next week and have a wife and family to celebrate with, both on the court and off due to the by-and-large preservation of the 2009 NBA Finalists and the 2008 NBA Champions.

For a brief moment after the violence to the peacemaking Pierce on September 25, 2000, it was Reggie Lewis and Len Bias.  It was Inglewood and NBA player stereotyping en total.

Instead, what do we have ten years later?  Paul Pierce sports two sets of rings, one for his summer marriage to his long-time girlfriend and another from 2008′s success.  He’sPaul Pierce coming off possibly his most successful career year offensively, daring to opt out of his final contract year (before the CBA gets blowed up good) but insisting on staying a Celtic.

Antoine Walker is on “Outside the Lines”, shrugging sheepishly at the mysterious loss of his career and all the earnings therein.  Al Jefferson continues to be the only person in his home market listening to urban contemporary stations, for which he should be called the Human Arbitron Rating in Minneapolis and Salt Lake City.

And, y’know, if you’ve seen Vitaly Potapenko recently, you probably should consider Promises Malibu for your hallucinations.

Even this season’s team is cause for reflection.  Shaquille O’Neal has joined Paul Pierce, yet the former is the afterthought despite gifting Pierce with his nickname, joining with Nate Robinson for a comedy team tentatively titled “Goofus and Goofus”.

Ray Allen is a year older, but he’s the ancient one who only has a mild chance of earning his paycheck while Pierce’s new four-year deal (threeish guaranteed) with heavy leanings towards retirement looks like a shamrock bargain.  Kevin Garnett will make sure you see how intense he is at every possible moment. Still, he’s not the leader; he’s the enforcer.

Yes, Pierce only played 71 regular season games last season, but it was really another 95-game season not counting preseason.  He had his knee drained as last year’s Christmas present, but he’s moving just as deliberately as he ever has.  He’s already working on his golf game for his retirement, but he’s not done just yet.  Due to this summer’s efforts by Danny Ainge to keep the band together, this team’s built for two more years of giving Kobe Bryant hell.

And yes, Paul Pierce heard about the offseason efforts in Miami.  He even offered a bit of advice to them:

“Now, can these guys say for the rest of their careers it’s not about winning the MVP? It’s about sacrificing the individual numbers for a greater good, and that’s winning a championship. I think the great players make the adjustment. If it doesn’t work out (the first year), I think as time goes, they’ll figure it out.”

Better hurry, Heat.  Paul Pierce has two more years with Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and enough size with Kendrick Perkins and Glen Davis to grind out seven nasty games against you when you fail to rebound.

It’s also entirely possible Chris Bosh still has to fit the hotel room bed with rubber sheets the night before playing against Kevin Garnett. If you don’t figure it out in the first year, you don’t have a lot of time left to show you were better than Paul Pierce’s team.

Because Paul Pierce knows about sacrifice.  He nearly sacrificed it all at the age of 22 to break up a fight yet didn’t shirk at giving back of himself after that day, from his flexibility with the Celtics and the salary cap to his team play to his Truth Fund and his Truth on Health campaign.  And now he’s ready to give the next two years of his life to weigh down another finger or two.  Just ask him how he feels:

“I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’ve grown, I’ve matured off the court, on the court. I have a chance to finish out my career here as a Celtic. I’m living in a dream right now truthfully. I’m at a good place in my life and I’m happy.”

That’s because Paul Pierce is still the ever-lovin’ Truth and he’s making the most of the second decade of his second life.

Player Team Position 2010 2009 2010 2009
Ray Allen Celtics SG 50 36 10 9
Gilbert Arenas Wizards SG 49 34 9 8
Lamar Odom Lakers PF 48 33 14 10
John Wall Wizards PG 47 NR 13 NR
OJ Mayo Grizzlies SG 46 46 8 12
Al Horford Hawks C 45 NR 6 NR
Jason Kidd Mavs PG 44 45 12 10
Joakim Noah Bulls C 43 NR 5 NR
LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 42 39 13 12
David West Hornets PF 41 31 12 8
Monta Ellis Warriors SG 40 NR 7 NR
Andrew Bogut Bucks C 39 NR 4 NR
Yao Ming Rockets C 38 NR 3 NR
Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 37 NR 11 NR
Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 36 NR 11 NR
Stephen Curry Warriors PG 35 NR 10 NR
David Lee Warriors PF 34 NR 10 NR
Brook Lopez Nets C 33 NR 2 NR
Gerald Wallace Bobcats SF 32 NR 7 NR
Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 31 29 6 7
Tony Parker Spurs PG 30 15 9 3
Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 29 13 9 3
Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 28 44 6 9
Josh Smith Hawks PF 27 40 8 13
Andre Iguodala 76ers SG 26 26 5 6
Al Jefferson Jazz PF 25 23 7 7
Russell Westbrook Thunder PG 24 NR 8 NR
Chauncey Billups Nuggets PG 23 19 7 5
Tyreke Evans Kings PG 22 NR 6 NR
Danny Granger Pacers SF 21 21 5 5
Carlos Boozer Bulls PF 20 32 6 9
Paul Pierce Celtics SF 19 17 4 4

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • ohsnapkid

    paul pierce is not a 2 guard…

    and omitting stephen jackson again? insane.

  • http://slamonline.com Saviour

    I like PP….sure he’s sneaky, but the way he draws fouls is clever.

  • spit hot fiyah


  • JoeMaMa

    Pierce should be top 15 based on his clutch playoff performances. I’m sure there are guys younger, faster, and who put up better regular season numbers, but when the stakes are high, you’d rather have PP than just about everyone in the L. “The motherf*cking truth”. Thanks for the quote, Shaq…and now you get to play with him.

  • JTaylor21

    Great spot Slam unlike those morons at Dime who had him in the Top-5 last year. He still one of the best iso players in the league even though he got erased throughout the cavs series by Bron.

  • Alex

    Pierce is not a shooting guard. He’s just not.

  • http://slamonline.com star

    if hes the 5th shooting guard whos 1-4?
    kobe, wade, roy , johnson?

  • Noel

    Potapenko! Shout out to Tony Battie and Kedrick Brown

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=pan&pcode=BEZ ANTONIS FOTSIS

    Underrated as always. Remains second best small forward in the world (after Durant over Lebronze). By the way….: where is Anna..???

  • JTaylor21

    ^^^^FOOTINMOUTH, you’re a freaking moron, PP is the second best SF, HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA talk about someone literally losing their minds having to ride the pine for so long. Y’all europeans must really be idiots no wonder why you guys let Hitler f*ck y’all in the a** with no vaseline and erased 6 million people from the earth right under your big a** noses. Maybe it was that you guys were too p**sy to do anything about it.

  • vtrobot

    Oh, man. Vitaly. Wasn’t he last seen getting tazered? One more ring for Paul. This is a good spot for him, even tho he is the “best player in the league.” If Steve Jax isn’t on this list, that is complete BS.

  • AKR

    wooww..paul pierce aint a 2 gaurd and lebron is shitt…f*ck a miami heat

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    @JT21: Dude, that’s low…even for you. WTF is wrong with you? You need to chill…

  • http://scott.r.carter10@gmail.com Scott Carter

    Im thinking next is Steve Nash.

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    Paul Pierce is ranked 10 positions higher than Kevin Garnett?
    That’s insane. I like Pierce, but Garnett is a MUCH more valuable player than him.


    You can’t handle The Truth!

  • Groves@UWA

    how can he be a shooting guard when he plays alongside rondo (pg) and ray allen (sg) on the wing. And He defends Granger, Deng and the like, also small forwards

  • The D Train

    IF that comment really was JTaylor21…pretty comical considering all of his posts regarding racism in America. That is all.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ryne Nelson

    Thanks for pointing out Pierce’s position everyone. The rankings are updated now.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    I really hope that was not JTaylor who posted that.

  • http://www.acb.com Alan

    Always liked PP. Always tought he was a SF, but I guess he can play wherever he wants. And having him 10 spots above Garnett… that’s saying a lot, but we’ll see. He’s still The Truth and I hope they make it again to the Finals, this time with Shaq.
    @JTaylor21: as european, u can suck my… OK, no need to be rude. But relax dude… you like to have your opinions and you enjoy when people repects them, so do the same…

  • EJ

    I’m a real PP hater, but this seems like the right spot for him cuase of his leadership and clutch play. And JTaylor, you’re a total douche.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    So have any of you guys hopped on that 2K11 yet?

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    JT, vent at Spanny all you want, but your generalization of Europeans based on the admittedly annoying antics of one Greek baller/commenter was just the lowest.

  • rikson

    @ JTaylor… Im NOT saying “Buuurns”


    Paul Pierce has got to be one of the toughest player in the NBA when it comes to battling through injuries. I’ve seen that in Carmelo too – playing with a broken shooting hand (thanks to Jeff Foster) and still leading the Nuggets to a W. smh

  • JTaylor21

    Wow, you guys really think that was me saying that sh*t, I do despise the Greek a-lot but I wouldn’t steep that low just to insult him. You people do know that it’s easy for other people aka HATERS to use your name and write hateful ish right? I got nothing but love for europeans especially those africans over there and the WOMEN oh the women.

  • ohsnapkid

    now that they positional rankings have been corrected, everything makes sense. seeing granger the other day as the 4th best sf, without pierce yet on the list, was weird, lol

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    @JTaylor – you ain’t gotta lie to kick it, homie.

  • benno

    j Taylor – u think your gangster but your not, you’ve probably got a little weiner, and to top it all off your american, the home of fat idiots, and do u even know what the war was about? People like u should be put in a cage, but i’m sure you have being in something like that before. So to summarise i don’t particularly like you. I love pp!!!

  • hoodsnake

    On another note how many bad knees is on the C’s roster this season?

  • JTaylor21

    @Enig, you’re a funny chap. How am I trying to kick it with people I’ve never met in my life, I don’t throw stones and hide my hand. Someone obviously thought they could use my name and try to slander me, I already have a few “suspects” in mind but I won’t bother naming names. Loose lips sinks ships!

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    i want to co-sign enigmatic but only Slam could prove it..

  • A celtics

    The truth never lies!

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=pan&pcode=BEZ ANTONIS FOTSIS

    @JTaylor21…..:only you and Eboy has ever got that low(although Eboy has done it much more times so you got work to do to catch up). Why don’t you simply make fun of greek/Euro/white,etc players instead of exposing so ugly your family/culture/education/country,etc i really don’t get it(ok truth is i get, actually for the reasons i just mentioned one couldn’t expect more ,but then again…..).

  • michael

    i am still trying to work out how al jefferson being in utah or minnesota has anythign to do with paul pierce’s ranking. i dont get the relevance at all, its not liek the dude asked to be traded for kg. the quality of writing at slam has been going downhill for a long time now

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=pan&pcode=BEZ ANTONIS FOTSIS

    @JTaylor21,Eboy,etc…..:since you’re unable to constract serious argumentation against my bball statements(don’t worry, you ain’t alone in this) just write something about my mama/family,etc. This way everybody is happy (i don’t care whatever you write anyway) and you don’t make me look somewhat good (something that is inconvienient for most here).

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=pan&pcode=BEZ ANTONIS FOTSIS

    by the way……:the “HAAAAAAAAAAAA” thing easily exposed you,sorry.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    that was quite obviously JTaylor that said that. And that’s low, and its even lower to try and lie like it wasn’t you.

  • slick ric

    The statement wasnt funny, but him saying he didnt write it was extra hilarious, Jtaylor is a funny character.

  • unrel

    that was a BS comment by ‘JTaylor’.. hopefully it wasn’t him.. but i didn’t think otherwise when i first read it… anyway.. good spot for the Truth.. still deserves to be all-star worthy.. but not now in the second tier group of players..

  • Ronald

    Whoever wrote that statement captured JTaylor’s essence quiet well. I think this ranking is kinda high for PP. There are several players that have appeared on the list that I would take before PP considering how he disappeared during the finals.

  • unrel

    ignore the ‘not’ in the last sentence..

  • http://theurbangriot.com The Nupe

    Certain comments should really be moderated. JTaylor (or whoever) that was just too low. On to basketball… I think this is a good spot for PP, if he was on a diffent team without Rondo, KG and Ray, he would be higher as he wouldn’t need to sacrafice part of his game for the sake of the team. If needed to, he could still put up top 10 type numbers, Ray and KG would likely both be top 25 if they didn’t sacrafice for the sake of the team too. So, overall I don’t have a problem with his spot if only based on expected production next year.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    IMO Kevin Garnett > Paul Pierce. But then again, i love defense

  • http://nicekicks.com meloman2.0

    this was a great read

  • onlyclipsfanonslam

    Very interesting. I was wondering who would come first; Rondo or Pierce. Rondo might be the most exciting player to watch on the Celtics, but Pierce is still the go to guy with everything on the line. Sorry Kobe but Truth has the best footwork in the game. Everyone gushes about Kobe and his footwork, rightfully so since he has amazing footwork, but Pierce just gets to anywhere on the court against defenders that are much quicker than he is all the time.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    @ Fotsis – “…since you’re unable to constract serious argumentation against my bball statements”…. hold the f*ck up, son. What “bball statements”? All that “where is anna” sh*t? Gee tee eff oh with that sh*t!
    @JTaylor – I’ma give you the benefit of the doubt

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    who else thinks its about time Slam enabled linking facebook or whatever account to slam posts so people stop using other people’s names or the stupid thing where the posting ID info was being shown to people not even on your computer when they want to post?

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=pan&pcode=BEZ ANTONIS FOTSIS

    @Enigmatic…..: this was for those able to understand that NOT everything writen here by SLAM commenters is a bball statement. Some are ,some not. Example: Durant>Pierce>Lebron is a bball statement(correct or wrong is another story), Anna,Starbury,etc is just somebody making fun of others naiveness (or somebody simply being stupid/immature,etc, depends how you see it ). To make the long story short, it was NOT for you (neither was for Jukaitavoris,dark,Eboy,Allenp,hursty,betcats,etc)

  • Ronald

    @JL: I rather have Slamonline hire moderators and ban IP’s of people who are sexist, racist, trolls and a!sholes who hide behind internet anonymous.

  • Ronald

    *anonymity not anonymous

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    go back to anonymous, it fits in a more entertaining way.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Internet anonymity sucks. Not so much on this site, because for the most part people here respect one another, but man on other sites, everyone acting all hard, saying things they wouldn’t say to someone in person. It’s crazy. And someone using someone else’s name on here is not cool.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    ^ That was not me….just kidding.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    Love his game, and for 82games, 48minutes per, this ranking is about right.
    Come playoff time, he’s top 12.

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    Lol @ Jtaylor… You’ve said ignorant sh!t like that before kid.

  • Ronald

    @Engimatic: LOL.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    My man, PSquared. Love it.

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    Wow: Greek dude vs. JTaylor — it’s troll vs. troll! Back on topic, this is a good spot for P-Dub. He’s getting older and a bit slower, but he’s still crafty as hell at drawing fouls, and I still trust him with the last shot.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    While the comments were amusing….I can categorically deny what Spanny said about me. I have never denigrated an entire population in a way JTaylor did. That’s just silly dumb. As far as Spanny goes, he get’s hurt feelings because I’ve referenced him as being the size of the Acropolis and that he probably has eaten baklava from other mens rectums and made advances at Allen Iverson and was turned down, hence his hate. How is that terrible?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    its not terrible, its fact

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    good spot for PP, but hes slowing down…

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    JTaylor, you should just kill yourself, do the world and yourself that solid.

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=pan&pcode=BEZ ANTONIS FOTSIS

    @Eboy…….: yeah,and jukaitavoris never mentioned Dale Ellis being part of the 2000 Bucks. Problem is that i (usually) save the most hillarious of the comments(so i still have jukai’s ‘Dale Ellis’ jewel), not the most racist/insulting ones. So i certainly wouldn’t have kept any of yours since on one hand they are not smart and on the other hand they are so reoccuring that it’s not even interesting (i even remember you some times apologizing for some of your comments). Now, if that means that you never did it, well, those who have a functioning/impartial memory know….

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    next should be Joe 120mil Johnson

  • The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    Whao guys, it’s been a long summer right? @JT I wanna believe u but I have the strange feeling it was u, u went way 2 hard, again. (But I don’t care, it was funny and I’m not European)
    A whole summer defending LBJ “decisions” can have its take on even the best of us…
    Anyway, u r still my favorite Black American (or should I say Afro-American) on this site.

  • The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    @ ANTONIS FOTSIS: Is it the crisis that Greece is facing that’s getting 2 hard on u?

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=pan&pcode=BEZ ANTONIS FOTSIS

    @The Frenchprince…..:i hope that,at least, i am your favorite white european on this site(or maybe yellow asian,pink striped Lillipoutian,etc) !!

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    Damn, that was cold… he called you French! Sorry, I’m done instigating…

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    All racist/anti-semetic/prejudiced haters should just get the f*ck off this site. If you can’t win an argument with your intelligence alone, don’t insult the rest of us with race baiting.

  • The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    @ Antonis: is Papaloukas still playing? One of my favorite European SG (player) ever. Kinda reminds me of PP in a way. 4 the contre-temps slow double pas, the craftiness and the cluth play. That Greece team that beats the US in 2004 (I think) was impressive, they almost didn’t miss anything in the 4th qtr (especially from 3). A great game and a great team (Greece): Papaloukas, Papadopoulos, Diamantidis… Good memories…

  • bashmo

    The TRUTH!! This guy right here is a complete basketball player…he can drive, take it to the hole, post up, shoot from mid, fade from mid, shoot the three, pass the ball, handle the ball, great free-throw shooter…he is an offensive weapon, and nothing short. He is also a solid defensive player. This guy right here is very underrated….and will lead the celtics right up til his retirement.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Prince of Nsam, if you really thought that was funny you’re a f*cking idiot. It doesn’t matter if you’re not European, you’re a tool. And so is that commenter who posted that sh!t.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Well, more so the j@g-off commenter. I’m willing to give JTaylor the benefit of the doubt, but regardless SLAM please just delete that crap.

  • The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    Shout out @ Teddy-the-Bear.
    Sorry if my words offended who, therefore I forgive the insult. Anyway, u can insult me all u want, I’m 2 real (and old) 4 internet beef. But I understand ur sensibility (that I don’t share) on a serious matter. One L.U.V.

  • C-Mac

    hey I like the truth as much as the next guy, but by now, he aint a top 20 player anymore

  • Reflex

    I hate the Celts, but Pierce really is the truth, who knows how much better he would be if he maintained better conditioning. Can’t hate on this ranking at all

  • Groves

    @ANTONIS FOTSIS… i’m a white/euro style basketball player from wayyy outside the US and i still think your a moron with no basketball knowledge… and you keep rambling crap about ANNA! its just old, the nickname hasn’t stuck, so just stop, your embarrasing yourself… if the whole of greece is like you no wonder your economy is collapsing around you… you are so dumb… you are really dumb

  • Nick the Quick

    Finally something we all seem to agree on. We may not agree that Kobe could beat Lebron 1-0n-1 in his sleep, or that Russell will be better than Rose or which is worse Lebron’s elbow or Kobe’s knee/fingers but we seem to agree the JTaylor is a first ballot Hall of Fame Douche. That’s a first!

  • http://google c_cantrell

    dude who the hell are u and y the hell are u runnin your f*ckin mouth.. get off this site and find a new hobby

  • Will

    This ish reminds me of that South Park episode… biggest douche in the universe. I am French and I speak better English than most people on this site. That is sad. Si il y a quelqu’un d’autre qui parle francais, n’hesitez pas SVP. As for Jtalyor, he is dumb but not that dumb, the first comment was from someone else and it’s easy to blame on him. Greek dude, learn grammar, then English, then F off. You are ignorant beyond belief. Have you ever watched the NBA in your life. It’s not Euroleague. This post was about PP (good spot for him) but damn, I have to comment on the low level of intellect from the comment section. I doubt anyone will read this due to all the stupidity preceding this comment, but if anyone does, join my plight to get rid of the Greek dude who is at times funny, but mostly annoying. BTW Anna Kournikova is a dime, stop comparing her to A.I.

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=pan&pcode=BEZ ANTONIS FOTSIS

    Will…..:always happy when hearing about something French.Second i like Paris, First and foremost you are our loyal&best “clients” when it comes to bball. Greece has won all games against France for the last 25 (yeah you read correct it is twentyfive) years !!! When ever we fill down, we play against the French and spirits up again….(still love Ricar Dcouri though, i wonder what he is doing).So…..bring on the French!!!!

  • Groves

    you beat the french, yet still france is earning more respect that greece…

  • http://www.euroleague.net/competition/players/showplayer?clubcode=pan&pcode=BEZ ANTONIS FOTSIS

    @gROVES……:where exactly my little one….??? they are no-14 we are no-4…..you cannot even compare. I repeat: 25 YEARS(TWENTY FIVE)!!!!

  • anony mous

    This is just silliness. I believe it is time for a group hug. For real though, do they not moderate posts?

  • Morgan

    “The comments section is a place to further discuss the topics in this post. Commenters who seek to accomplish any of the following may be banned:
    - Personally attack other commenters.

    - Make derogatory comments regarding race, ethnicity, language, gender, sexual orientation or religion.

    - Troll, or comment with the intention of creating problems. Trolling includes, but isn’t limited to, baiting people to flame at you, encouraging people to leave the site, spamming and using alternate IDs.”..They might as well delete this section because its clearly not being followed…or enforced

  • Justin

    OK, whoever wrote that Pierce is one of the toughest guys battling through injuries makes me laugh. Pierce would be out 3-4 months with a hangnail

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