I know there are times where my man Paul Pierce will go on TV and say outlandish things. People clown on him all the time for his analysis on TV and even I can admit there are topics now and then where even I am left scratching my head. However, when it came to the debate as to who was the better wing scorer between Pierce and Klay, I don’t think anyone was surprised that Pierce went with himself. Now before you immediately lump this in to some Celtics homerism and old guys refusing to believe that new guys are as good or better, allow me to tell you nothing Paul Pierce said in this segment is a lie. You heard him, when it came to clutch time scoring, there’s no contest. I wanted to double check that claim, and surprisingly Pierce was actually telling the truth. Here’s what I found. Basketball Reference tracks this sort of thing since 2000-01, so that’s where we’ll draw the line. That does exclude Pierce’s first two years, but overall it gives us a good enough sample size. Since 2000-1, this is how it broke down in terms of clutch scoring
Paul Pierce: 33 FGM a season on average with 39/35% splits. Littered over that timeframe you had Pierce consistently in the top 20/15/10 in clutch FGM. He’s not delusional when he says he was one of the best clutch wing players during his run.
Klay Thompson: 16 FGM a season on average with 37/33% splits. Now with Klay it’s a different story. Sure he plays with Curry and that matters, but even once Paul got his Big 3 help he was still around 25-35 clutch FGM a season. This isn’t to say Klay isn’t a ridiculous shooter, obviously he is, but if we’re just talking in terms of clutch scoring, Pierce is right.
So clown on Paul all you want, it’s not like he doesn’t have bad takes every now and then. But when it comes to this debate, don’t laugh. They call him The Truth for a reason and after reviewing the evidence I can’t spot the lie.