A day before Paul Pierce’s retirement ceremony on Sunday Night, Celtics legend, Robert Parish, stated that Paul Pierce is “the greatest offensive Celtic ever”. He doubled down on his statement by saying that Paul Pierce was “more creative” than Larry Bird.
Settle down, “Chief”!
Let’s start with this. Robert Parish had a great career with the Boston Celtics. He averaged 16.5 points and 10.0 rebounds over 14 seasons with green and was a major contributor to three championship teams. With that said, none of that would have happened without Larry Bird.
Parish played 21 seasons in the NBA. In eleven of those seasons, he played with Larry Bird. This excludes the 1988-89 season where Bird played just six games after having Achilles surgery. Parish make the All Star Team nine times in his career. In each of those seasons, he played with Larry Bird. In the ten seasons he didn’t play with Bird, before and after his Celtics career, he was never an All Star once! Nine All Star Teams with Bird and ZERO without him.
Larry Bird made Parish a better player because of his overall offensive play. He made him better because the defense focused on him and it opened up shots for Parish and Kevin McHale. He made him by better be being the best passing forward in the history of the NBA. He made him better by being clutch and bailing the Celtics out to win games they had no business winning.
Simply put, although he was a very good player, Robert Parish would not be in the Basketball Hall of Fame if he never played a game with Larry Bird.
And, now this ungrateful “Chief” is going to say that Paul Pierce was a better offensive player than Larry Bird?
It’s unbelievable that this ever has to be done, but let’s dive into this. For starters, in his 15 season with the Celtics, Paul Pierce never had a season where he shot 50% from the field. In fact, his FG% with the team was .447. Larry Bird’s career FG% is .496. If you want to debate, Paul Pierce being a better shooter than Bird, then go away. No time for that.
How about passing? Does Parish actually think that Paul Pierce was a better facilitator of the offense than Larry Bird? Bird was not only the Celtics leading scorer in 12 of his 13 seasons with the team, but he also led the team in assists six times in his career. Pierce was never regarded as facilitator. He was a great scorer. He averaged 3.9 assists a game in his Celtics career.
Robert Parish was a great player. However, he is not a great evaluator of talent. That’s why he’s never had a job in the NBA ever since he retired. This statement he made on Saturday Night confirms that.
Look. This isn’t meant to take anything away from Paul Pierce. He was the face of the Boston Celtics for over decade. He helped lead the Celtics to a championship in 2008. Celtics fans will never forget the impact that he made. After many years of the team not contending, he led them back to the top. He gave everything he had to the organization and he deserves to have his number up there with the Celtics all-time great players. He was a GREAT player…
But, Paul Pierce is no Larry Bird. Robert Parish should know that better than anyone.