Hitting a game-tying 3-pointer that didn’t count might be the last shot Paul Pierce takes as an NBA player, with many hints at the future hall of famer retiring instead of going back to play another season with the Washington Wizards or anyone else.
Pierce, if anyone had any doubt before this season began, is more than capable of starting in this league and playing a major role on any team, even if he needs a little bit more rest than before. He averaged 11.9 points in 26.2 minutes per game for the Wizards in the regular season but raised his game to a higher level in the playoffs, averaging 14.6 points in 29.8 minutes, although the numbers don’t count up the influence he has in the closing moments of games.
Pierce had the best points-per-possession numbers among all players in the postseason with 1.303 points per possession. This is someone who is going to turn 38 just before next season begins. Maybe his words right after a very tough loss to swallow aren’t indicative of what’s going to happen; spoken in the heat of battle. But there does come a point when your body tells you it’s had enough.
I don’t even know if I am going to play basketball anymore. These seasons get harder and harder every year, every day. Summers get even harder when you start getting back in shape. I’m 37 years old. I’m top two or three oldest in the league (he was 10th oldest when this season began). Truthfully, what was going through my mind, I don’t have too much more of these efforts left, if any.
These rides throughout the NBA season and throughout the playoffs are very emotional. They take a lot, not only out of your body, but your mind, your spirit. They are very emotional. It affects not only you but the people around you on days like this. You go home and you are around your family and you don’t feel like talking to them or doing anything because of what the game does — it takes a bite out of you. I don’t think a lot of people understand that. … It affects the people around you.
If it is the end for Pierce, has has a glorious career to look back at. He has been in the league since 1998, playing 17 seasons for the Boston Celtics (15 seasons), Brooklyn Nets (one season) and the Washington Wizards (one season). He is an NBA Champions and Finals MVP in 2008, a 10-time All-Star and four time All-NBA team selection, although never to the first team. He has a career average of 20.7 points per game. With 25,899 career points, he’s 19th on the all-time list.