Former NBAer Paul Pierce won his only championship ring by being a member of a superteam. A superteam that was traded for during a 33 day stretch in 2007 that sparked the modern superteam revolution in the NBA. Pierce and coach Doc Rivers were on the verge of getting run out of town after a 24-win season in 2006-07 thanks to years of middling finishes and only one conference finals appearance during Pierce’s tenure in Massachusetts. The superteam saved Pierce’s legacy.
So what does Pierce have to say about a current NBA player joining a superteam?
Let’s check in with Pierce, courtesy ESPN’s “The Jump” program.
This comes the same day that Rivers — who coached that 2008 Boston Celtics team — said on ESPN’s Mike & Mike radio show that he felt as though it wasn’t a competitive thing for Durant to do.
Via Sporting News:
“It is tough when you see a guy join a team — in Durant’s case what he did this year. That was tough for anybody, anybody’s that’s competitive, to watch. He lost, and then he joined. Having said that, it was his choice, I have no problem with him, but it’s something from a competitive standpoint, you would think you wouldn’t do.
“I have no problem with him doing it, it’s just something from a competitive point, for me, I guess when I played it would have been tough for me to join Detroit. Having said that, he has the ability to do it, guys are doing it, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
At this point, if you’re done laughing at former Celtics players and coaches, I think it would be prudent to point out that it’s just as competitive to want to grind your opponents into dust until they have zero chance of ever beating you as it is to beat them outright.
Are the games competitive in a colloquial sense, meaning a close back-and-forth? No. But “being competitive” also means finding ways to dismantle your opponents. Apparently in today’s NBA that means joining the team that beat you so that you can shred the entire league for half a decade or so.
It’s dumb, but if you understand the “win over everything” attitude that has allowed fans to lionize players like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan, this sort of seems like the next logical step. The only alternative would be some kind of insane altruistic campaign by the players to hold the parity of the league alive, veiled by the PR of beating your rivals instead of joining them.
Durant joining the Warriors is wack, and boring, and in no way being a “good sport”. It’s also his choice to do it, and if he wants to win a boatload of championship rings, a really good idea.
Just because others can’t compete doesn’t mean Kevin Durant isn’t competitive.
Meanwhile, hearing Pierce and Rivers complain about players joining a superteam will always be one of my favorite things to see.