The Truth: Paul Pierce is Real NBA MVP

The race for NBA MVP is as wide open as the Western Conference right now.

From what I've been hearing, the choices seem to have been narrowed down to Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, and LeBron James.

All of them are fantastic choices. There are clear, legitimate arguments for each of them.

I'm a huge NBA fan. I'm an admirer of guys who play a complete game. All of the guys who have been mentioned in the MVP race fall into that category.

You have Kobe Bryant, who is an underrated one-on-one defender and an the most dominating offensive force in the NBA. The easy choice for MVP this season, he's led the surprising Lakers up to or near the top of the Western Conference (depending on what happens between now and when this is published on Thursday).

Chris Paul is playing out of his mind. He makes his teammates better, can score at will, and might be playing at a higher level than anyone else in the Western Conference. An insane season for a guy who stands at only six-feet tall.

LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. He's averaging 31-8-7 for the season, which is just stupid. He's completely unstoppable. The Cavs would be a lottery team without him — but with him, they're in the Eastern Conference championship conversation. He's scary good, and might be good enough to win an Eastern Conference championship again on his own.

All are great choices and would be worthy MVPs.

But to me, the real MVP is playing for the NBA-leading Boston Celtics.

No, not Kevin Garnett. The Truth, Paul Pierce, is my NBA MVP.

What Paul Pierce is doing this season is going almost completely unnoticed due to the additions of Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.

It's amazing the transformation as a player he made this year.

Pierce has always been a good scorer. He's never been afraid to take big shots. But he's never been a complete player.

At times in his career, he's been a black hole. He'd get the ball, the Celtics would run some type of isolation play, and then he'd fire up a bad fall-away jumper. He'd do this enough times that he'd score 25 points a game, but his percentage would be down around 30% and the Celtics would lose.

At times in his career, he's been a defensive liability. He's always had the ability, he just never seemed to want to play defense.

In a way, you can understand it.

The Celtics couldn't win unless he put up 40 on the offensive end. That type of offensive output takes a lot out of a guy, especially when he's consistently triple teamed. He had no energy left to waste on the defensive side of the ball.

He's fought maturity problems in the past. I, for one, will never forget the needless ejection against the Pacers in the playoffs just a few short years ago. He followed that up with a pathetic Game 7 performance in what was probably the low point of his career.

But something happened to Paul Pierce this season, and it's not just the addition of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

All of a sudden, Pierce is the best player on the floor when he needs to be. He's making great decisions. He's turned into a great passer. He's transformed himself into a great free throw shooter.

Garnett is the emotional leader on the Celtics, but Pierce is the captain.

When Ray Allen is out of the lineup, Pierce is there stepping up his offensive output.

When Kevin Garnett is out of the lineup, Pierce is there stepping up his defense. The entire time Garnett was out they ran their offense through Paul Pierce. He kept the team afloat during extended absences of the other two thirds of the big three.

He's the one guy the Boston Celtics can't play without. He's the best man-to-man defender on the team when they need him to be. He's the best scorer on the team when they need him to be. He's a point-forward, a shooting guard, and a small forward depending on the matchup. He gives them whatever they need to win on any given night. He's not putting up LeBron numbers, but 20-5-5 isn't too shabby.

He's the MVP of the best team in the NBA. Just ask any of the Celtics players. They'll tell you.

"I got Paul for MVP this year," Kevin Garnett told the Boston Globe. "He does a lot of things, just little small things that people don't see. There are only three people I like to watch on offense, and he's one of them, man. He makes scoring look easy. He has an uncanny confidence about him that I love, cockiness and self-assurance. I told you, there is a reason why I came here. He's one of the reasons."

Garnett's right. If I had a vote for NBA MVP, it would go to Paul Pierce.

And that's the Truth.

I'm SeanMC.

SeanMC is a senior writer for Bleacher Report and writes a column for Sports Central every other Thursday. You can read more articles by SeanMC on his blog.

Comments and Conversation

March 20, 2008

Billy:

I’m sorry, but your argument that Pierce is the MVP is way off. People are right to overlook Pierce’s season because last year his team was terrible…Enter KG and Jesus, now all of the sudden they’re at the top of the East. The thing about Kobe, Lebron, and CP3 is that their teams rely on them Every Night to be dominant and lead them to victory. With Pierce, he can take turns with KG and Ray Allen being the best player on the team and can get away with shooting 30% and scoring 10 points. I agree that he is the MVP of the Celtics, but he’s not even close to being as valuable as the other 3 guys. You can’t award a guy just because he was spoon fed 2 superstars in the off-season. The lakers got Pau for free, but its basically like they traded Bynum since he has been injured the whole time, and Pau is no Garnett. Anyway, I’m glad to see Pierce get out of the lottery, but can’t put him ahead of Kobe, Paul, or LBJ for MVP…Not even close.

March 20, 2008

Marcus:

you know what even though majority of the people say kobe is the best player in the nba(which is true) im still getting tired of some people saying that lebron is the best in the nba because the fact is he is not. Kobe has been in the league for 12 years give him the respect he deserves he is still the best player in the nba and the most complete player since Michael Jordan…Now Kobe is no Jordan but he is very close and by the end of his career if he stays for about 5 more years or more we will remember him as the best player to ever play the game of basketball

March 20, 2008

KJ33:

Billy, you are acting as if there is a clear cut definition of what Most Valuable means in the MVP award, when there clearly isn’t, it is very subjective. You write off PP as a candidate without even considering this. You say he is is the most valuable player on the Celtics, just not nearly as valuable as Kobe, LeBron or Paul, but how can that be? If a player is acknowledged to be the most valuable player on the league’s best team, how is it he is not as valuable as the other 3 stars? While there is no clear-cut definition, one which is frequently cited is being the best player on the best team. Being on a winning team, if not the best team, is almost always a consideration in basketball, you don’t get the stats argument like 40 hrs or 150 RBI’s on a last place team like in baseball, since stats are not so relevant in basketball. If Pierce is truly the best player, the one his team can afford to lose the least, on the best team in the NBA, he has to at least be in the discussion. We need only look to last year and Dirk for an example of this, it doesn’t mean Dirk is more talented than Kobe or LeBron, he just had a great year on the league’s best team.

March 20, 2008

Billy:

Actually there is a clear-cut definition to the MVP…Most Valuable Player! And yes, PP can be less valuable than Kobe, Paul, and Lebron for the same reason Chauncy Billups isn’t as valuable. They are both on great TEAMS, meaning if you take away one piece, they’re still good. If you take Kobe off of the Lakers, they would go from 1st to lottery. Cleveland would be lottery without LBJ, Hornets would be bottom feeders without CP3. The Celtics(especially in the east) could still be a top 3 or 4 team without Paul Pierce…THAT is why he is not as valuable. You brought up Dirk from last year, he was MVP because he had a great individual year along with winning. Pierce is just winning and having an OK year himself. Also, yes I said he’s the MVP of the Celtics, but by a Small margin. With Lebron, CP3 and Kobe, you KNOW who is the best player on the court EVERY NIGHT! Lastly, you say “best player on best team”…The best team is Subjective! The lakers are arguably as good as the Celtics(especially when healthy) and Kobe is lightyears ahead of Pierce individually, so the nod goes to Kobe in that case. In ANY argument, Pierce is not the MVP, whether you go by “Best player in the league” “Best player on best team” “Best statistics”…he is NONE of those, so subject that you big dummy!

March 20, 2008

Kran:

“I’m sorry, but your argument that Pierce is the MVP is way off. People are right to overlook Pierce’s season because last year his team was terrible…”

Great job in providing the most useless comment in here. First of all, Pierce was injured through most of the year, as was most of the team. Secondly, take a look at the “Bizarro Celtics” and how they’re doing… also known as the 2007-2008 Timberwolves. Yeah, that’s right, they’re quite awful. Nothing to do with Paul Pierce.

March 20, 2008

Tim:

I have to agree with Billy. I don’t discount the argument that Pierce has transformed his game this year, and that he has improved tremendously. That said, if you attribute even a majority of the success that Boston has had to Pierce, than you’re fooling yourself. Yes, he is an integral part of their team, and they would suffer without him. However, like Billy said, with Garnett and Allen and the new attitude they have, they would still compete in the East without PP. Boston is the best team in the league, but since it is such a total team effort for them, you really can’t give the credit to any single one of their players. We’ve seen what happens when KG, Jeses and PP are the only stars on their teams, they lose.

James in my opinion is the single best player in the game, but he hasn’t raised his team high enough to be consider the MVP. 38 wins compared to 30 losses in the east isn’t good enough, especially when you have guys like CP3, who is doing as much for his team as anyone including Lebron, getting his team to 46-21 in the much, much harder West.

Bryant has been terrific, and probably has deserved an MVP at some other point in his career, but the success in LA has to be attributed both him and Gasol, and well as the emergence of their supporting cast.

Chris Paul is doing more (1st place in the west) with less (decent teammates, no real stars - but raises them to star level) and therefore is the MVP of 2008.

March 21, 2008

P Didd Montague/Paul Pierce Die Hard:

I’m going to set the record straight, … . . If you don’t understand what I’m trying to convey to you your a moron!!!

I saw Paul Pierce with the ball oh lets say about 6-year ago for just five seconds and I immediately said who is that guy! Well 6-seasons later I’ve got a nice collection of Paul Pierce on VHS/ Tivo, the guy is a beast. I played against Lennie Bias back in the day, And Paul Pierce is the closest thing I’ve seen to Lennie Bias, that’s another reason I’m a die hard Celtic fan/Maryland Basketball finatic. All of you fairweather fans keep talking about herkey jerkey Kobe, and Lebron who I believe is better than Kobe in my mind (he does exactly the same things with 2 extra inches … . ddduuuuuuhhhhh). MY POINT IS I’VE GOT PAUL PIERCE ON TAPE, GIVING KOBE 39-POINTS TO KOBE’S 40, BUT THE CELTICS WON DURING THE 2005-2006 SEASON WITHOUT KG OR RAY ALLEN. IVE ALSO GOT PAUL PIERCE GIVING LEBRON JAMES 40 BUCKETS ON TAPE, SO WHAT ARE YOU MORONS TALKING ABOUT?????!!!
Why are you hating on Paul Pierce. If I had to pick my starting five it wold be : KG, Paul Pierce, Lebron James, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant. I’d run with anyone.
The guy is silky smooth, fundamentally sound, gets to the bucket like theres no tomorrow (look at his free throw attempts duing his career), and has a raw jumper.

Take heed !!!! Paul Pierce for MVP !!!!!

March 21, 2008

J TEEZY:

KOBE! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE! KOBE!

March 21, 2008

Zain:

I dont think you present a good argument or case of MVP , they had Paul Pierce all this time and he was never been able to carry celtics this far . A MVP is a difference maker on a team , Steve Nash , Tim Duncan , Kobe bryant , Lebron James . All of these players make their sub-par or lottery teams into pure contenders . Kobe is the MVP this year without question . Replace Kobe with Pierce on the celtics , and there is NO QUESTION wether Celtics are going all the way .

March 21, 2008

Edgeman:

All these egotist-lovers, Laker-lovers! Kobe, at the best of his career, is not as good as Lebron is now, years from his peak! Even Paul (likely years from his peak) is a better player. But the MVP is not about individual stats. If it was, Lebron would be the undisputed champion. The MVP is about the player who sacrifices the most to make his team better, who does it all. Stats don’t mean much. PP is in serious contention!

March 23, 2008

P-Didd:

To Zian

Kobe is not going to win anymore rings, he had his opportunity, and cried about having Shaq on his squad … . . he made his bed let him lay in it. If you take away Gasol, the Lakers are barely a 500. team. I said your boy is nice.

March 23, 2008

SeanMC:

For the record, Pierce took the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals one year. He was injured and missed almost the entire season last year. So to say he was a part of that team is a slight overstatement. He was as much of an addition as Garnett and Allen.

The year before, the 04-05 season, he carried that group of junk currently playing in Minnesota to the playoffs.

I’m not saying he’s the best player in the NBA, but he deserves consideration for MVP.

March 28, 2008

Michael:

Why does it always resort to name calling? It IS possible to make a case using just facts, as almost all of you have done.
Anyway, The Truth SHOULD be in the conversation for MVP. He has been overlooked for a long time and is probably one of the top 10 players in the NBA. When he committs on both ends, he really has no holes in his game.
LeBron gets to the basket at will and puts up great numbers on a bad (and injury-riddled) team but is not the MVP because like a lot of you have said, his team just hasn’t performed to the level of these others guys’ teams.
It’s toss up between CP3 and Kobe in my mind. (And Paul isn’t by himself—David West is better than Pau Gasol and an All-Star.) I think it will go to Kobe—and I’d give it to Kobe—because he’s the best player in the game and he deserves one. He has the most complete game in the NBA, he brings it every night, he’s finally a good teammate and a team leader, he has great numbers and his team is winning.
The MVP isn’t meant to be a lifetime achievement award but I think the fact that he doesn’t have one while inferior players do (Steve, Dirk), combined with the fact that the other 2 guys are so young, will and should give him the extra bumb to beat out the other guys.

March 31, 2008

rhynole:

Billy, the very heart of your comment is the reason Paul does not get the respect he deserves. “Enter KG and Jesus, now all of the sudden they’re at the top of the East.” The Celtics are not KG anda bunch of other guys. KG did not transform the Celtics. How many new players are there on this team? KG, Ray, House, Pollard, Big Baby. What about the players that might as well be new players if you compare their minutes from last year? Powe, Rondo. Paul was out most of last year. Tony Allen was out most of last year. This is not a case of KG joining the same Celtics of last season and transforming the team. THIS IS A NEW TEAM! If you want to credit only 1 person for turning the Celtics into a contender, credit the real #44. GM Danny Ainge.

March 31, 2008

rhynole:

By the way, I am not saying Paul should be MVP. I’m saying he has done enough to warrant as serious consideration as KG, Kobe, Lebron, and anyone else.

April 2, 2008

GHGHGHG:

I am sick of hearing people say that Paul Pierce cant’t carry a team. Pierce has had no help virtualy all 10 yaers he has been there. The only other guys he has played with worth talking about is Antoin and Al Jefferson. Al wasn’t even good until the second half of last season. Pierce is an exelnt player he just hasn’t had any help. The gameplan used to be pass to pierce and gete out of the way. He played with young players that couldn’t get it done. Last year when the celtics went through that 18 game losing streak Pierce wasn’t playing. When Pierce got back they won the next game. He missed 47 games last yaer, that’s why they were so bad. I am not saying Pierce is the MVP, but he atleast desereves to be in the discussion. He has been underated his whole career. He is the celtics most valuble player.

April 3, 2008

Gretchin vonvorstein:

Pierce really is the celtic s Most Valuble Player not the leagues most valuble player but is right up there and I agree Kobe stinks like eggs

June 8, 2008

ApoligizetoKobe:

I don’t kno where half of these hypothetucal stats came from, but please do yourself a favor and stop it. Before Pau came the Lakers were better than a .500 team and his addition could have most likely been a hinderance in the offensive production. The MVP using his wisdom changed gis style of play to incorporate the rest of his team into a Championship team. If there were assists for assists Kobe would lead that category.

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