SBNation is doing a theme day where they ask bloggers who should/shouldn't be in the All Star game.
Let us get this out of the way right up front. I think Paul Pierce deserves to be on the All Star team and just about all the experts appear to agree with me. Here's a sampling.
My tough decision was between Pierce and Al Horford, a two-time All-Star who didn't get my nod because he's no longer a high-efficiency scorer. His defense remains superlative, and he's a versatile weapon that always makes the Hawks better. He'll be No. 1 on my injury replacement list. Pierce just continues to be the excellent scorer and all-around player that Boston desperately needs. It feels odd to give Boston three All-Stars while a couple much better teams (Pacers, Hawks) get none, but what can you do?
The choice here, though, is Pierce. The Celts' captain simply has to be in Houston, even though that would give Boston one more All-Star than it realistically deserves, because he's been the most productive, reliable and most versatile Celt yet again.
Pierce, for his part, has been the difference between Boston living and dying. If Pierce had been any less successful as a scorer this season, then the Celtics’ 20th-ranked offense would surely unravel more than it already has, thereby putting even more pressure on Boston’s still-rallying defense. It’s all a very delicate balance for a team that’s had to work hard for a .500 record, and on many nights it’s Pierce — with his efficient scoring and savvy defense — holding it all together with a roll of duct tape.
So you can see that on merit alone he deserves to be included in the festivities.
Now allow me to make the case AGAINST Pierce (whom I adore, as many of you know). I don't see this as much fault of his own, but the team stinks. They are below .500 and the season is half over. They are holding on to the 8th playoff seed by a thread (and Philly's incompetence). This team does not deserve 3 All Stars.
Rajon Rondo probably deserves to be on there. I've just stated that Paul Pierce probably deserves to be there. I would also argue that Kevin Garnett still deserves to be there, though Zach Lowe (who's a big fan of Garnett as well) makes a solid case for leaving him off a theoretical All Star team without fan votes.
But he's logging just 29.8 minutes per game, his rebounding and individual defense have slipped just slightly, and he's not a "throw me the damn ball" offensive force on a night-to-night basis anymore. His Player Efficiency Rating of 18.4, while still excellent, would be his lowest since 1996-97. It's lower than that of David West, one of the three guys (along with Paul George and Al Horford) in consideration for what was essentially the final spot on this fake roster.
That's all well and good, but if you had one game or one series that you had to win, I'd still want KG on the court for me over and above those other guys - even at his advanced age.
So while all 3 of Boston's stars are All Star worthy, the Celtics still don't deserve 3 All Stars. They might not even deserve 2 except for the fact that the East is lacking in star power lately.
Pierce is still Pierce on most nights. He's going to have the occasional off day more often than before because his body simply isn't going to do the things it used to do. But as the experts above asked, "where would this team be without Pierce?" Lottery land that's where.
Oh, and since that is a good segue, allow me to rant a little.
I have little and less say in any of this (no more than any fan not named Grousbeck), but I will never support a Paul Pierce trade. Never.
Oh I get the arguments for it. I get the rationale and I understand that Danny Ainge would never say never. But I would and I do.
Paul Pierce is a Celtic for life and in this day and age that means even more than it did in the days when they were creating the legend that is being a Celtic is all about. Players change teams like they are changing shirts these days. They force trades, they hold teams hostage, they leave for South Beach, all to feel more respected and better loved and more successful. Ironically Paul Pierce chose not to do any of the above and has become one of the most respected, most beloved, and most successful players around because of it.
Pierce deserves to retire as a Celtic.
Oh, and back to the All Star team... he probably deserves to be an All Star too. I was just about to write that I'd rather Pierce stay home and rest on that weekend. However, it occurs to me that this might very well be Pierce's last All Star game opportunity. So perhaps he should attend just for that fact alone.
Give me Paul Pierce till he decides to hang up the sneakers. Even just an occasional glimpse of the Truth is worth it to me.