Why is everyone so eager for the Celtics to move on from Paul Pierce? Our good friend Brian Robb at ESPN True Hoop partner CelticsHub investigates and reminds armchair GMs that one poor playoff performance shouldn't cloud what Pierce did for the Celtics this season:
Yes, Pierce was awful during the playoffs. It was the worst series of his career, by far. There are plenty of excuses I could give for his lackluster play (playing with a pinched nerve, 42 minutes per game, a poor offensive gameplan centered almost solely around him). There’s no defending how awful he was though. He has to take responsibility for the performance. Luckily, I don’t need those excuses to defend Pierce as a player. Instead, I can point to the larger sample size, you know the 77 games of the regular season he played in with above-average career numbers. The guy who turned the C’s season around and carried his team back into the offseason when Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger went down in January. Upon being left with a bitter taste from the Knicks’ series, people forgot about that version of Pierce. The Pierce that was still playing like he was 25 for more than half the season. That guy is not over the hill. He’s not even falling down the hill. Instead, he’s closer to the peak than the bottom.
The Celtics asked an awful lot of Pierce after all the injuries they endured during the 2012-13 season and he wasn't able to shoulder that load. But before you pack his bags, just remember how vital Pierce was to simply getting Boston to the postseason and ponder what his absence would mean for the team moving forward.