Not sure how I missed this, but Tom Ziller (a superb blogger) is breaking down a list of the top 50 players in the NBA today. Our own Paul Pierce checks in at number 17 (a fitting number), just ahead of old friend Al Jefferson.
Here's a highlight:
Pierce has really had two careers, both strong. Before 2004, Pierce was your prototypical superstar swingman: an elite scorer, a decent rebounder, a good defender, a nice ball-handler with a few passes in him. The shooting wasn't efficient, and the rebounds came more in the flow of the game than because of any talent for the boards within. This isn't a bad place to be -- it did get Boston to the conference finals without much else in the cupboard (save gunner extraordinaire Antoine Walker).
In the '04-05 season, Pierce transformed. His game became so much more efficient -- less shots to get the same points, fewer turnovers, renewed emphasis on free throws over fadeaways. As such, Pierce became a better player ... a much better player.
A quick note about this: For those that didn't pick up on it, 2004 is when Doc Rivers started coaching. If you remember, Doc and Paul didn't see eye to eye at first, but eventually Paul came around. Doc didn't start coaching when Danny got him KG and Ray. He laid the foundation of our championship year by molding Pierce into a cornerstone piece they could build around.