It seems whenever Pierce inserts his playing career into a conversation regarding today’s game or a particular player, it’s typically met with general criticism from NBA fans and this week was no different after a recent episode of The Jump. In a segment called “Make or Miss League” – where Rachel Nichols, Richard Jefferson, and Pierce comment on the week’s most uncommon plays in a blooper reel form, Dallas Mavericks All-Star Luka Doncic made an appearance.
ESPN Analyst Paul Pierce On Luka Doncic’s Scoring: ‘He’s Got A Lot Of Me In Him’
He may have used his pivot-step fake a few too many times when his mid-range attempt resulted in an air-ball. The three hosts laughed about it before Pierce pointed out what the extra leg fakes by Doncic reminded him of.
“He got a lot of me in him,” Pierce said in the clip. “Look, it looks slow and lethargic but he always gets there, you know? He’s a better passer but as far as scoring ability; me and him have a lot in common.”
Nichols, who immediately dismissed the take before asking Pierce to repeat what he said, Jefferson chimed in – explaining he could see what Pierce was getting at.
“It’s like you’re not supposed to be athletic but you’re athletic,” Jefferson said. “You get the shot off.”
Jefferson, who spent many seasons guarding Pierce as a member of the New Jersey Nets in the early 2000s, understood the reference. And as one of the game’s most impressive scorers, Pierce was notorious for relying on his disciplined footwork to attack the basket in contrast to most elite players his size that rely on their speed and athleticism.
Doncic, who entered the 2018 NBA Draft as a projected top-3 pick, was often knocked for his lack of athleticism. Often times, it was one of the few bad things scouts could come up with.
Many wondered if it would hinder his growth at the NBA level. That notion was immediately dismissed a few months into the start of Luka’s career.
After a magnificent first-year statement – where he averaged 21.2 points, 7.8 rebound, 6 assists, and 1.1 steals, Doncic earned the 2019 Rookie of the Year award.
But if you asked what the angry NBA fans on Twitter had to say about the exchange, you would think Pierce was criticizing the 21-year-old superstar by mentioning himself – a top-20 all-time Hall of Famer scorer – in the same sentence as the third-year star. Doncic, in his third season, is already a top-10 player; his trajectory into a top NBA player is inevitable.
Do People Forget Paul Pierce Is An All-Time Great Scorer?
Although Paul may not have ever been a top-5 player throughout most of his era (unless you count summer 2008 when he was on top of the league after stopping LeBron James and Kobe Bryant on his way to a championship as the NBA Finals MVP), he’s still considered one of the best scorers of all-time.
Ahead of two Celtics greats in Kevin Garnett and John Havlicek, Pierce currently sits at No. 19 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 26,397 career points, per Basketballreference.com. If Pierce says Doncic’s un-athleticism reminds him of himself because of how Luka can use other tactics to be effective; what’s the issue?
For now, he’s earned the right to do that. When Doncic ascends to one of the all-time greats then the comparisons between him and Pierce can stop. In the meantime, let Pierce enjoy his flowers every once in a while.
Even if Paul’s the one gifting them to himself.