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Wednesday, 08 May 2013 00:11

Now is the time for Paul Pierce to pass the torch

Written by 
 To a twenty-two year old Boston Celtics fan like myself, Paul Pierce is the Boston Celtics. The same way my father and other middle-aged Celtics fans admire Larry Bird, I admire Paul Pierce.  Maybe he wasn't a three-time NBA champion or a three-time NBA Most Valuable Player like Bird was, but the way he stuck with the franchise through thick and thin is admirable to a fan that never imagined what it would be like to celebrate an NBA championship until 2008.  As I watched Game 6 of the Celtics series against the New York Knicks, I, like many Celtics fans, wondered if this was the final time I'd ever see Paul Pierce in a Celtics uniform.  With all due respect to Kevin Garnett, he wasn't even on my mind. Sure, he was a great Celtics. Sure, he helped the Celtics raise banner eighteen. But, is he even close to Paul Pierce when it comes to his spot in Celtics history?  Hell no.  If you look through the Celtics record book, Paul Pierce is right there next to the all-time greats like Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, and Bill Russell. Although many fans may not realize it now, Paul Pierce is in the same category as all of those aforementioned greats.  He is third all-time in games played in a Celtics uniform. He is third all-time in minutes played in a Celtics uniform. He is second all-time in points scored and he is arguably the best offensive player in the history of the greatest franchise in sports history.  Paul Pierce is a legend. He is one-of-a-kind. (Paul Pierce gets emotional during the 2008 NBA Champions ring ceremony at TD Garden - BOSTON.COM Photo)  Despite all things good in Paul Pierce's 15-year NBA career, the time for Pierce to go out on top is now.  'The Truth' is coming off of one of the most inconsistent season's of his 15-year career. Battling bone spurs throughout the end of the 2012-2013 season, it was hard to count on Pierce being the player that we are all accustomed to. Sure, he had times where he looked like the vintage Paul Pierce we're used to, but he also had games (including Game 6 vs. New York) where he looked like he didn't even belong on an NBA court.  This past season, Pierce's avereage points per game was the lowest since the 2000-2001 season and his field goal percentage was the lowest it had been since the 2003-2004 season.  This isn't to knock Pierce at all, because it was visible to the naked eye that he was playing through pain. But the fact of the matter here is that the chances of him becoming healthy again at this point in his career are slim-to-none. If anything, it will only get worse as he continues to get older in a league that relies so much on speed.  Luckily for Celtics fans, the demise of Pierce has come at a time when the Celtics have another young star on the rise. That player is 26-year old Jeff Green, a player that Celtics originally drafted with the fifth pick in the NBA Draft before trading him for Ray Allen.  Despite the criticism of Green early on during the 2012-2013 season, at the end of the season Jeff Green became the one thing Celtics fans could be positive about as the end of an era was closing.  Throughout the Celtics six-game series against the Knicks, Jeff Green was the only player who showed up with consistency each and every night. He led the team in scoring (20.3 points per game), while also showing that he wasn't afraid to take and make the big shots.  Although Green has shown inconsistency at times during his career, it is now or never if the Celtics want to take a chance at finding their next superstar. Jeff Green has shown that he has the ability to be that guy, but there is no way he will be able to maximize his full potential while playing next to one of the best offensive players in Boston Celtics history.  As hard as it is for a 90's baby Celtics fan like myself to see Paul Pierce go, now is the time for him to pass the torch to the next potential Celtics superstar.