Is Paul Pierce the Greatest One-On-One Player in Boston Celtics' History?

By Brandon Spencer
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Pierce will always be a favorite among Boston Celtics fans. He’s also a favorite among Celtics’ former players.

In a recent interview, John Havlicek told Boston Globe reporters that Paul Pierce is the best one-on-one player to ever don a Boston Celtics jersey. Pierce is definitely one of the greatest players in franchise history. But considering all of the other all-time greats that have played for the Celtics, this is a bold statement, especially coming straight from the mouth of one of those all-time greats.

Havlicek said, “He’s one of the best all-around players and the thing I marveled at was his one-on-one ability. I think he’s the best one-on-one player of all Celtics.”

When considering such a comparison, players like Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Bob Cousy, Kevin McHale and even Havlicek himself all have legitimate cases to stake their own claim to that title. And as Boston’s leading scorer in franchise history, Havlicek certainly knows a thing or two about scoring. So when a guy like Havlicek says Pierce is the man, I believe him.

Pierce’s case is certainly an impressive one. His ability to score or get to the line any time the ball is in his hands is special, and it’s certainly worthy of consideration among those all-time, Hall of Fame greats. Pierce’s ability in isolation scenarios at the end of games have become nightmares for other teams around the league.

Before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets, Pierce played 15 years with Boston. As it stands, Pierce’s numbers with the C’s put him near the top of the team’s leaderboard in almost every major statistical category. Pierce, aka “The Truth,” is the team leader in three-pointers made and attempted and free throws made and attempted and is top-three in field goals made and attempted. He is a 10-time All-Star, four time All-NBA player and even has a three-point championship to his name.

“The Truth” is Boston’s second all-time leading scorer (only behind Havlicek). Hopefully he returns to the Celtics before his career is over, so we might get the chance to see him catch Havlicek’s career scoring record. Even if that doesn’t happen, I look forward to the day when Pierce’s No. 34 jersey will hang in the rafters of the TD Garden, right by Havlicek’s No. 17.

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