Paul Pierce has long dominated the box scores in Boston’s North End for quite some time.
In fact, he’s led the team in scoring in every season since stealing the title from Antoine Walker in the 2000-01 season and has averaged 22.5 points per game in 884 career contests with the Green and White.
Last year, Pierce led the C’s with 18.3 points per game. Trailing him, just like the season prior, was Ray Allen, who chipped in with 16.3 points per game. Kevin Garnett, who played just 69 contests, added 14.4 points per game and Rajon Rondo rounded out the top four with 13.7 points per game.
This quartet has occupied the top four slots since the group was assembled back in 2007, but which player will take the crown when it’s all said and done next spring?
While most peg Pierce to be a shoo-in once again, one has to realize that a lot has happened in the last few years. Rondo, the youngest, has emerged as one of the league’s top threats from the point and will likely hold onto the rock more this season than in years past.
Garnett has faced injury problems in the recent past, but a healthy Big Ticket could mean fewer opportunities for Pierce.
Allen, never afraid to shy away from a 3-point attempt, could see one of his best seasons from 3-point land at age 35. In fact, a 35-year-old Larry Bird had one of his best seasons (which was unfortunately his last and just 41 games long) from behind the arc when he shot .406 from 3-point land.
As for Pierce himself, the 33-year-old forward has lost some flash in his first step and one can assume the captain won’t be driving to the basket as much as years past. Since 2005, he’s eclipsed 500 free-throw attempts just once and he had just 31 more free-throw attempts last season in 71 games played than he did in 47 games played back in the 2006-07 season.