This is the ninth in a series of profiles for all 15 players on the current Celtics roster. We’ll profile at least one player each day leading up to the season opener.
Paul Pierce held his Finals MVP trophy during the rolling rally in June. (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff)
Born: Oct. 13, 1977
Height: 6 feet 7 inches. Weight: 235
Years pro: 10
Acquired: Drafted No. 10 overall by Boston in 1998
2008/2009 salary: $18 million
Signed through: 2010/2011
Last year’s numbers: 19.6 ppg, 4.5 apg, 5.1 rpg
Strengths: Pierce can flat out take the ball to the rim. He uses his body better than almost any other player in the league, catches defenders off balance, and is a fantastic finisher. Tell me you saw that Finals performance coming and I’ll call you a liar. Pierce was the best player in that series, and it wasn’t even close. He may have even been the best defensive player in that series. Besides scoring ability, the Celtics captain possesses the mental toughness to come through in clutch situations (see Game 7 of the conference semis against the Cavs).
Weaknesses: Before last season you’d have to say defense, but that’s no longer applicable. If you asked Pierce what his weaknesses were this past summer, he probably wouldn’t have given you much to work with (remember this comment?) Whatever you think of Pierce’s self-confident statment, it’s hard to argue with the results of the man who was the best player on the biggest stage in world basketball last June.
What to expect: You’ve got to feel good for Paul Pierce. How many times does an athlete stick with a bad situation for as long as he did and actually get rewarded for his patience by winning it all without having to change locations? Will motivation be an issue this season? That’s a question we’ll be asking of a lot of Celtics players this year, but Pierce has reached his goal. He also just had a baby. Will that drive him more? If his heart is into it, expect more of the same from Pierce this year.
Check back tomorrow for another player profile, and give us your expectations for Pierce in our comments section.