Paul Pierce knows a little something about winning with the Celtics.
‘The Truth’ spent 15 fruitful seasons in Boston, crafting a Hall of Fame career and winning a title alongside Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen as one of the first modern ‘Big 3’s’ in 2008.
Pierce knows how hard it is to get over that hill, having tried and failed on so many occasions before help arrived, and he’s shared a few words of wisdom about what it takes to win that the current crop of Celtics’ stars should probably listen to.
Brad Stevens’ squad fell just short of an improbably Finals appearance last year, falling to LeBron James’ Cavaliers in seven games in the Eastern Finals, albeit without their All Star duo Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
This season, they’re the strong favourites out East with LeBron moving to the Lakers and Pierce wants this team to realise what they need to do in order to fulfil their ambitions of winning a championship sooner rather than later.
With Irving and Hayward coming back into the mix, the impressive young core that guided Boston on such a thrilling playoff run will have to take a backseat to some extent.
But, Pierce thinks everyone will have to adjust some, not just the young players.
“You have to sacrifice if you are truly committed to trying to win a championship,” Pierce said according to Mark Dunphy of Boston.com. “They’re going to win a lot of games, but unless they sacrifice — because we know they’re going to be better than probably what their numbers show — if they can sacrifice they’ll win a championship this year. Because the talent is definitely there.”
The 10 time All Star has first hand experience of giving some of his own shots and ball handling duties up from when Garnett and Allen linked up with him, and it’s certainly a recipe for success.
Pierce averaged 25 points per game in 2006-07, and the Celtics won just 24 games. The next season, when he was joined by the aforementioned All Star duo, Pierce’s scoring production fell to 19.6 points.
Though he was the incumbent All Star on the team, Pierce recognised the need to sacrifice his own for the greater good of the team. That will be the challenge for the plethora of scorers on this current Celtics roster that all want to get their share of the pie.
The question for Irving, Hayward, Tatum and co will be what they truly value more; the personal accolades or the team’s success.